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Sometime Scholar in European History in Columbia University ; 
Instructor in History in Yale University 




Faculty of Political Science 


Columbia University 



OCT 2» 1912 

Copyright, 1903, 









A PASSING remark in one of Professor Hans Delbrtick's 
lectures on the revolutionary and Napoleonic era called 
my attention to the peculiar complications which resulted 
from the union of England and Hanover during the 
eighteenth century. The interest then aroused was at 
first turned most naturally toward the subject of the 
mutual influence which the two members of the Personal 
Union might be supposed to have exercised upon each 
other, and particularly to the question of Hanover's influ- 
ence, cultural and political, upon the English dominions 
of its elector. 

Thus it was that I entered upon a study of Hanoverian 
history after 1795 with the hope that the relations be- 
tween the Electorate and England would give the inves- 
tigation a wider outlook and deeper interest than that 
ofifered by the history of other minor German states in 
the period. The title and table of contents of this mono- 
graph will readily show how definitely I was obliged to 
abandon my expectation of seeing England come to the 
fore in a study of Hanoverian history in the years after 
the treaty of Basel. The study has, I hope, not the less 
breadth and interest, but these arise not from the rela- 
tion of Hanover with England, but from the complete 
dominance of Prussia in Hanoverian politics, a domi- 
nance so complete that one can hardly speak of an inde- 
pendent Hanoverian policy in these years. The following 
445] 7 

8 PREFACE [446 

pages show primarily two things which my preliminary 
study of printed works had only suggested as possi- 
bilities. First, how and why the standpoint of Prussian 
interests furnishes the proper interpretation for Hanove- 
rian history in the years between 1795 and 1803. It 
shows, secondly, and I think with equal conclusiveness, 
that Hanoverian history is the key to many things in 
Prussian policy in the same period, inasmuch as it is the 
history of the most important of those north German 
states whose geographical situation made their fate of 
supreme moment to Prussia. 

In its title, then, and in the topics it treats, the fol- 
lowing study is a result of the historical situation which 
the archival sources revealed; for the results here pre- 
sented are based almost wholly on archival material, 
some of it published, but by far the greater part exam- 
ined in the original manuscript copies. The material I 
have used was gathered during two summers spent in 
the archives of Hanover, Berlin, London and Dresden. 
These gleanings I have supplemented by the documents 
in volumes VIII. and XXIX. of the Publicationen aus 
de7t kbniglichen preussischeii Archiven (these two vol^ 
umes edited by Dr. Paul Bailleu) and by the Papiers de 
Barthklemy, published by the French Foreign Office 
under the editorship of M. Kaulek. The works of 
Malmesbury, Massenbach, Ranke, Hiiffer, Ulmann, Vive- 
not, Ompteda, Martens, Bailleu, Wohlwill and many 
others, to whom the footnotes give due credit, have 
supplied, in whole or in part, documents otherwise in- 
accessible. I have referred carefully to all sources, 
printed or manuscript, and in the case of the latter I 
have often printed such excerpts as would enable the 
reader to test for himself the statements made in the 
text. Though obliged to use many different libraries, I 



have endeavored to obtain uniformity in the references 
to works having different editions. 

I can not refrain from expressing the modest hope 
that this monograph will help in a small way to call 
attention to a field of Prussian history which deserves, 
and will repay, more study than it has hitherto received. 
Prussian historians, after the style of Treitschke, have 
too often condemned the period of neutrality as one of 
unrelieved weakness and disgrace. Thus having wiped 
out what their modern and somewhat intense nationalism 
leads them to consider as one of the dark pages in Prus- 
sian history, they hasten on from the reign of Frederick 
the Great to the reforms of Stein, Hardenberg and 
Scharnhorst and the more glorious years of the Wars 
for Liberation. Throughout the preparation of this 
study the writer has felt the need of an unprejudiced 
history of the reign of Frederick William II. and of the 
earlier years of his son's reign. Men like Hertzberg, 
Haugwitz, Hardenberg and the Duke of Brunswick 
would repay, in a lesser degree, perhaps, such treatment 
as Professor Lehmann has given Scharnhorst and Stein, 
and there is a place for briefer but equall}^ conscientious 
studies of such men as Lombard, Struensee and von 
Dohm. Such investigations might help to give us that 
profounder knowledge of the political, military and social 
conditions in unreformed Prussia after Frederick the 
Great — the critical period in Prussia's history — without 
which we cannot understand the era of reform or the 
Greater Prussia of the nineteenth century. 

In the preparation of this study I have been placed 
under obligations to many helpful friends and acquaint- 
ances. The collection of the material for it was made 
possible by the unfailing courtesy of those Prussian 
scholars into whose hands has been committed the keep- 


ing- of the state's archives. Drs. Doebner and Fink, in 
Hanover, and Drs. Bailleu, Loewe and Keller, in Berlin, 
have given me every assistance in examining and tran- 
scribing the documents in their charge. To Dr. Paul 
Bailleu I arn further indebted, not only for his own pub- 
lications in this field, but also for his kindness in reading 
and criticizing my chapters on the Prussian occupation 
of Hanover in 1801. Through the liberality of the Eng- 
lish Foreign Office, and the kindness of the gentlemen in 
charge of the Public Record Ofhce and of the manu- 
script room of the British Museum, those two invaluable 
collections were freely opened to me. In the prepara- 
tion and printing of the following chapters, I have re- 
ceived the aid of two young American scholars whom I 
would name with gratitude, Dr. Charles G. Osgood, 
instructor in English in Yale University, and Dr. James 
T. Shotwell, instructor in history in Columbia Univer- 
sity. To others whom I may not name I feel I owe 
much for assistance freely given. But more than to all 
others my thanks are due to Professor William M. 
Sloane, whose kindly criticism and encouragement have 
enabled me to present this study in its present form. 

The calendar reminds me that by a happ}^ chance I am 
enabled to conclude this preface on the centennial anni- 
versary of the surrender of the Hanoverians to the 
French, the event which closes the period covered by 
this study. 

Guy Stanton Ford. 

Bristol, Wisconsin, July 5, 1903. 




The theme and its derived importance 21 

Epochal character of the years 1714-1715 . , . . . , , 21 

Why Hanover's history after that date is more than Hanoverian 

in its import . . . , 22 

Prussia involved by its geographical situation . . : , , 22 

Reason why Prussia is interested in Hanover 23 

Instances of Prussia's interest in Hanover before 1795 25 

Hanover and Prussia and ''the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756" . 25 

Frederick the Great and Hanover in 1778 27 

And at the organization of the Fiirstenbund 27 

The period 1795 to 1803 a further manifestation of this inevitable 

interest 28 

The period of neutrality in outline : its main features and the prob- 
lems considered in this monograph 28 

Preliminary view of Hanover at the close of the eighteenth century, 32 

Its area, population, and strategic position ............ 32 

Its connection with England: origin of the Personal Union , . -^2^ 

How the Union was regulated; provisions of the Act of Settlement. 34 

H\i^"' r^glemenf oii']!^ 35 

The ministerial regency in Hanover .....,..., 35 

The Hanoverian minister in London — His importance exaggerated, 36 

An estimate of the Personal Union . zi 

Degree of separation between Hanoverian and English interests x: 38 
Dominance of the aristocracy in Hanover — Lack of vigor and need 

of reform 39 

The power of the irresponsible bureaucrats , . 40 

The results of the system. . . ............... 40 

Some of the leading names of the period ....,..,.,.., 41 

Wilhelm Augustus Rudlofif, Geheimersecretar, as a typical bureau- 
crat 42 

Why able men left Hanover , . , « 43 

449] II 



Prussia draws Stein, Hardenberg and Scharnhorst away from 

Hanover 44 

Revolutionary days and sentiment in Hanover 45 

Von Berlepsch and the declarations of " the Calenberg nation " . 46 

Was Hanover a revolutionary tinder-box ? 47 

Hanover's part in the wars against France 47 

The disastrous campaign of 1794 leaves the Electorate exposed . • 48 

What can save it from a French invasion ? 48 

Appendix A 

List of members of the Hanoverian Regency, 1795-1803, and am- 
bassadors at foreign courts in the same period 49 

Appendix B 

Letter of Simon Woronzow on the separation of interests and 

policies between Hanover and Great Britain 50 


The Treaty of Basel and the Beginnings of Prussian 


Relative position and influence of Hanover 53 

Why the history of a Prussian treaty is introduced 53 

Review of Prussia's part in the Revolutionary Wars 54 

Disruption of the First Coalition . . 54 

Prussia's interests in Poland 55 

General view of the treaty of Basel 56 

Recent studies by Bailleu and Sorel 57 

Desire for peace general in the Empire . . 57 

Austro-Prussian rivalry still active 58 

First peace proposal at Regensburg, October, 1794 ........ 59 

Opening of the Prussian negotiations at Basel 60 

Count Goltz and his instructions 61 

France firm — New instructions for Goltz 62 

Goltz dies — His successor 63 

Motives influencing the negotiators 63 

Hardenberg as a Prussian negotiator 64 

Idea of a neutral zone appears 64 

Prussian mediation had already been proposed 65 

Committee of Public Safety unfavorable to it 65 

Hardenberg's ideas concerning peace with France 66 

He considers three possible cases . . . . c 66 



Hardenberg proposes the neutralization of North Germany .... 68 

Barthelemy's reply - 68 

Barthelemy thinks Hardenberg would save Hanover 70 

King Frederick William H. expresses his views 71 

Parties and plans in favor of a demarcation line 72 

Advantages to France of a demarcation line 75 

Opposition of Committee of Public Safety to such a line 76 

Prussia firm — Treaty concluded 76 

Was King Frederick William II. pleased? ']'j 

Tardy offers of English subsidies ^J 

Treaty of April 5 not wholly satisfactory to Prussians 78 

French criticize it . 80 

French interest in North German commerce 80 

Convention additionelle of May 17 81 

Its secret articles 82 

Hardenberg permits Hanover to secure a copy of open articles . . 82 


Hanover Accepts Prussian Neutrality 

Hanover's attitude toward peace affected by 

a. Her position as an electorate of the Empire 84 

b. Her previous policy in the war 85 

c. The dual position occupied by her ruler; the questions in- 


Characterization of Hanoverian policy from 1792 to 1795 87 

Regency favorable to the peace proposals at Regensburg 87 

Attitude of Elector-King George 88 

His Hanoverian ministry disagree with him 88 

Attitude of other German states toward the treaty of Basel .... 89 

Importance of Hanover's decision: the task before the Regency . . 89 
Duke of Brunswick intercedes for Prussia — Hanoverian Regency 

favorable but act deliberately • . . . . 90 

English policy under Pitt in 1795. King George restrains his Han- 
overian advisers. 92 

Regency's representations in Berlin, January to March, 1795 ... 93 

The Regency's appeal to King George 94 

Points in which they agree with their ruler's anti-Prussian views . 95 
But they favor the acquiescence of Hanover in the treaty of Basel ; 

their arguments • 96 

The king hesitates 97 

Pitt interrogated in the House of Commons q8 

Austria tries to prevent Hanover's acquiescence 99 



King George accepts neutrality 100 

He later reproaches his German subjects loi 

The significance of Hanover's action in accepting neutrality . . . 102 


Failure of the Convention Additionelle of May 17, 1795. 

Attitude in Hanover toward neutrality .............. 104 

The weakness of the Prussian arrangement 104 

The violation of the Demarcation Line. 105 

Withdrawal of Prussian troops from Frankfort 106 

The Regency desire a special acknowledgment of Hanover's neu- 
trality 107 

French however protest against Hanoverian violations of neutrality. 107 

Attitude of King George. 109 

Prussia the interested party no 

Hostile forces cantoned in or near Hanover no 

French discontented — their remedy iii 

Prussia urging Hanover to observe neutrality 

Von Dohm's mission— His instructions 112 

The Regency's reply— RudlofT's views 114 

George III. agrees to disperse the troops at Osnabriick and Stade . 115 

Delay in executing the order 116 

Hanoverian provincial estates display particularism . 116 

Berlepsch and the action of the Calenberg Estates . . * 117 

Haugwitz seeks to put neutrality on a firmer basis 118 

Founding Neutrality as a System 

The failure of the policy begun at Basel 119 

Difficulties in the way of securing the safety of North Germany 

{a) The situation in Paris 120 

{b) In BerHn 121 

Possible ways of meeting the situation — Haugwitz 's choice .... 122 

Hardenberg favors a vigorous policy 124 

Prussia begins negotiations — Sandoz-Rollin's instructions .... 126 

Attitude of the Directory towards neutrality 127 

Haugwitz acts energetically — What neutrality as a system meant . 129 

Haugwitz appeals to the North German states for their co-operation. 131 

The replies I34 

Hanover's attitude; the Regency; the King- Elector 134 



Doubts arise in Hanover — The question of supporting an army of 

defence 138 

Views of the Duke of Brunswick 139 

Haugwitz, the Duke, and von Dohm confer — The result 141 

Von Dohm's mission to Hanover — His instructions ....... 143 

The Regency's reluctance to assume the burden of expense — Aris- 
tocratic influences 148 

Von Dohm's ultimatum 150 

Forces in Hanover that favored co-operation with Prussia .... 152 
The meeting of the Calenberg Estates — The influence of Harden- 

berg and von Berlepsch 153 

Action of the Estates 154 

Von Dohm in Brunswick 155 

The Regency yields — Rudlofif sent to Brunswick 156 

Preliminary conferences over the support of the Demarcation Army. 156 

Hanover's plan — Rudloff retires 156 

Contrast suggested by the im^portance of the situation 158 

And the petty spirit in which it was met by the smaller powers . . 158 

Could Prussia long tolerate such a situation ? . . 159 

Von Dohm reasonably successful 161 

Appendix A 

The Regency's report on affairs in May, 1796, and Hardenberg's 

visit to Hanover ~ 163 


Founding Neutrality as a System [Cont.). 

Double aspect of the Neutrality System 167 

Origin of idea of a demarcation army 168 

How was it to be supported ? 169 

The critical nature of the issue 169 

The Congress of Hildesheim as a solution . 170 

How it was constituted . 171 

Petty questions raised 172 

Its deliberations 173 

Importance of the Congress 174 

Treaty of August 5, 1796, concluded 175 

Haugwitz triumphs 177 

Composition of the Demarcation Army 179 

Neutrality maintained 1796 to 1801 181 

Place of the neutrality period in Prussian history 182 

The material and intellectual greatness of the decade, 1795-1805 . . 182 



Political significance 183 

European events 

In France 184 

In the Empire 186 

The Congress of Rastatt 186 

The Hanoverian delegation 186 

Their policy in the Congress 187 

The renewal of war 189 

Haugwitz for action — Frederick Wm. III. remains neutral .... 190 


Prussian Occupation of Hanover in 1801 

Complexity of the Napoleonic Era 192 

The European situation in 1800 192 

Napoleon vs. England 193 

Revival of French hostility to Hanover 193 

The germ of the continental system 194 

Ways for the French to reach Hanover 195 

Idea of Hanover for Prussia 195 

Czar Paul I. aroused against England 197 

His revival of the Maritime League of 1783 197 

England's unwavering maintenance of her maritime principles . . . 198 

Prussia would act as mediator 200 

Haugwitz gives England friendly assurances 202 

Prussia drawn into the plans of Paul and Napoleon 203 

Haugwitz's skill in meeting the difificulties of the situation .... 204 

Paul becomes more urgent 205 

Prussia is pushed toward the occupation of Hanover 206 

Napoleon renews his threats against Hanover 207 

Prussia in her weakness is obliged to yield 207 

She resolves to occupy Hanover, but delays 208 

Napoleon threatens to occupy Hanover 209 

The difiEiculties of Frederick William III.'s position 210 

The neutrality system at stake 210 

Frederick William's efforts to extricate himself 211 

Czar Paul demands that Prussia occupy Hanover 212 

The situation in Hanover 21 

The fears of the Regency 214 

Their vigorous protest to Prussia, February 12, 1801 215 

Prussia does not reply, but Prussian opinion favors occupation . . 216 

Should Hanover appeal to England ? 217 

English opinion 218 



Views of the royal family 218 

Duke Adolphus goes on a mission to Berlin 219 

Duke's character; his aide-de-camp 221 

Duke and Capt. von der Decken in Berlin 221 

Von der Decken's interview with the king 222 

King friendly to Hanover 225 

Von der Decken sees Haugwitz 226 

The case for Hanover seems hopeless 227 

Motives and forces determining Prussia's conduct 228 

The subject of indemnity as a background 228 

Prussia's weakness 230 

Czar Paul assigns Hanover to Prussia . 231 

He threatens Prussia with an army 232 

Prussia occupies Hanover 233 


Prussian Occupation of Hanover in 1801 {Cont.) — The 


The Prussian proclamation 236 

Hanover submits 237 

Spirit of the Regency - 237 

Von Dohm succeeds Schulenburg 238 

Assassination of Paul I. — Nelson's victory at Copenhagen . . . 239 

Fall of Maritime League 239 

Prussia's embarrassment 239 

The subject of indemnity as a factor in interpreting Prussia's delay 

in evacuating * 240 

The suspicions of other nations 241 

Prussia's indemnity plans . . 241 

Their success depends on Napoleon 242 

Napoleon offers Hanover 242 

The offer advantageous 243 

The probity of Frederick William HI 244 

Russia reconciled with England; Prussia isolated 245 

Prussia's conditional acceptance of Hanover 245 

Napoleon's discontent with the reply to his offer 246 

Prussia avoids discussion of its continued occupation of the Elec- 
torate 246 

Is Hanover to be abandoned by Europe ? 248 

England to its rescue 248 

Ambassador Carysfort vigorously demands Prussia's withdrawal . 249 

Russian co-operation lacks vigor 250 



Prussia hesitates about declaring its intentions 250 

Kriidener, Russian ambassador, becomes more active 251 

Russia's interest in saving Hanover 252 

The embarrassment in Berlin 254 

The crisis 255 

August 8, 1801, as the crucial date 257 

The conjunction of four important events 257 

{a) Frederick William III. declares his good intentions to- 
ward Hanover. 

{b) Prussia's indemnity plan revealed. 

{c) Haugwitz goes on record as to Hanover. 

{d) Napoleon demands that Hanover be delivered to the 

Haugwitz's refusal 263 

French-English peace negotiations in London, October, 1801 . . . 264 

Withdrawal of the Prussians 265 

Results of the occupation 265 

Chapter VHI— Appendix A 

Extract from Haugwitz's Memoirs 269 


The French Occupation of Hanover in 1803 

Gradual development of Prussian policy (1795-1803) 271 

Prussia is drawn into complications by her desires for indemnity . 2']2 

Prussia's indemnity fixed by treaty with France, May 22), 1802 . . 273 

Exultation over the rich reward in Westphalian region 273 

Hanover's suspicions aroused and her interests antagonized .... 273 

Hanover's indemnity policy 274 

The Regency unsupported fails to gain possession of Hildesheim . I'^'v 

The Regency blind to the gathering storm 2TJ 

Treaty of Amiens and its rupture, May, 1803 . 277 

The standard according to which the events of 1803 will be selected 

and grouped 278 

Napoleon turns to Prussia for aid; Duroc's mission; Hanover 

again the international pawn 2'j(^ 

Results of Duroc's mission 280 

Haugwitz's views 281 

Importance of Russian action in this crisis 283 

Prussia's instructions to Jacobi in London and her appeal for Rus- 
sian co-operation 283 



Prussia's efforts to mediate fail in London; Russia's ambassador 

indifferent 283 

Situation in St. Petersburg — Peace tendencies 284 

Russia's interest in the matter of indemnity 285 

Intercedes for Hanover at the Memel interview, June, 1802 .... 286 

Consequent dissension between Russia and Prussia 287 

Haugwitz turns to Russia in crisis of 1803 288 

King Frederick William III. will not occupy Hanover unsupported. 288 

Awaiting Russia's action • 289 

The situation in Hanover 250 

Effect of Prussian occupation of 1801 and Prussian possession of 

Hildesheim on the Regency's attitude 2Q0 

Count Miinster's anti-Prussian influence in St. Petersburg .... 290 

What might have been expected of a Hanoverian m.inistry .... 291 

The usual way of treating the French occupation of 1803 292 

Lack of preparation in Hanover; Electorate's isolation 293 

Dependence on Russia; Simon Woronzow's encouragement . . . 294 

Action of Hanoverian and English ambassadors in St. Petersburg . 296 

This action too late to have really determined Russia's action . . . 297 
The sufficient reasons for explaining Russia's failure to support 

Prussia against Napoleon 297 

Attitude of the king of Prussia — Parties in his cabinet 300 

Captain Deckcn's second mission to Berlin 301 

Queen Louise secures him an interview with the king 302 

No results from this interview nor from one with Haugwitz .... 303 

King Frederick William has a plan 305 

The outbreak of war 306 

The conference at Corbelitz; Haugwitz's appeal fails to rouse king. 306 

Russia breaks silence, but too late 307 

Indecision and divided responsibility in Hanover 308 

Advance of the French under General Mortier 309 

Hanoverian surrender, July 5, 1803 310 

Prussia reveals her weakness 311 

The responsibility resting on Frederick William III 312 

Retrospect and conclusion . • 313 

Addenda 316 



In the period between 1789 and 1803, no other minor 
German state so largely influenced the course of Euro- 
pean affairs as the Electorate of Hanover. The reason 
for this lies not so much in the inherent greatness and 
force of the Electorate itself, as in a peculiar combina- 
tion of circumstances by which the hitherto peaceful 
annals of Hanover are made to reflect like a mirror the 
history of Prussian poHcy, and, in a certain degree, the 
history of Revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe. The 
truth of this statement will be more apparent to one 
who recalls in outline certain historical events in the 
previous history of the eighteenth century, and studies 
the territorial results of these events upon the map of 
Europe in 1795. 

The years 1714-1715 mark a turning point in the his- 
tory of Europe. The age of Louis XIV. was ended and 
the eighteenth century had begun. By the treaties of 
Utrecht and Rastatt, Frederick I. had secured for his 
dynasty the proud title of king of Prussia, thus sowing 
the seed of an ambition whose harvest fields were Ross- 
bach, Belle Alliance, Koniggratz and Sedan. The house 
of Savoy had fixed itself in Piedmont, around which it 
was destined to group the rest of the peninsula under 
the aegis of a united Italy. Austria, through the grant 
of the Spanish Netherlands, was placed at the threshold 
of France; upon the House of Hapsburg rested the 

459] 21 


obligation to defend the lower Rhine region against 
whatever infectious evil the festering Bourbon monarchy 
might disseminate. England had secured the key to the 
Mediterranean and the gateway to French Canada, and 
had assured to herself a line of Protestant princes. By 
the death of Queen Anne in 1714 this assurance became 
a reality through the accession to the British throne of 
a minor German sovereign, George William, Elector of 
Hanover. The historian of the eighteenth century will 
find in the development and interaction of the events 
here compassed in a single paragraph, many of the most 
interesting problems of the age. Of these, not the least 
important is the dynastic revolution just mentioned. It 
is this change, together with certain of its consequences, 
which has been chosen as the subject of the present 
study. The elevation of a German prince to the throne 
of England gave rise to a complex of political interests 
and antagonisms without parallel in history. On the 
one hand, the electorate of Hanover was bound to the 
Imperial House of Hapsburg by the constitution of the 
German Empire. On the other, its geographical situa- 
tion made its every move a matter of the highest import 
to its most powerful neighbor and Austria's rival, the 
newly created kingdom of Prussia. Furthermore, the 
Elector's accession to the English throne involved his 
state in the fortunes of a power whose policy could be 
controlled by neither Hanover, Prussia nor the German 
Empire. Add to these complications the fact that Eng- 
land was entering upon a second Hundred Years' War 
with France and it at once becomes obvious that a his- 
tory of Hanoverian-Prussian relations may furnish a 
vantage point from which to study European history at 
the close of the eighteenth century. 

Geographical situation is a matter of so much import- 


ance in determining national policy that it requires more 
than a passing notice in any treatment of the relations 
between two powers. The problems of Prussian states- 
men in the eighteenth century were essentially modified, 
if not created, by the fact that her lands straggled a five 
days' journey across that territorial wilderness known as 
the Holy Roman Empire of the German People. The 
Prussia of Frederick the Great, to apply Parkman's 
brilliant words on France in America, had two heads, 
one on the bleak shores of the Baltic, the other amid the 
vineclad hills of Meuse. On the Vistula it faced the 
Empire of the Romanoffs, on the Rhine it was in the 
shadow of the tottering Bourbon mionarchy. Its con- 
tinuity was broken by the interposed territory of a dozen 
petty powers among which it wandered in uncertain 
length across the map, here broad and clear, there dis- 
persed and indistinct, again lost in a congeries of 
ecclesiastical states. Such territorial disintegration not 
only created administrative difficulties which were in 
themselves a problem for the statesmen of Prussia, but it 
exposed the nation on two widely separated frontiers to 
dangers from enemies as powerful as Russia and France. 
Furthermore Prussia's own peace and quiet vv^ere con- 
ditioned upon the independence and neutrality of the 
minor powers enclaved within her limits; the difficulties 
of her leadership where there was no subordination 
would become almost insuperable if any of these states 
should attempt a policy hostile to her or should fall into 
the hands of her enemies. 

In the very heart of the Prussian territory lay the 
German states of the king of England, vying with 
Saxony and Prussia in power and influence in northern 
Germany. Their uncertain length from Hamburg on the 
north to Gottingen on the south cut Brandenburg off 


from Cleves and the Mark ; their eastern boundary was 
at the gates of Magdeburg, their western at the vv^alls of 
Minden. On the throne of Hanover were the descend- 
ants of Henry the Lion, men who had once thought to 
rival the House of Hohenzollern in the struggle for the 
leadership of Protestant North Germany. The elevation 
of the Guelfs to the throne of Great Britain had ended 
that dream, but the change had created for Prussia 
dangers far more serious than dynastic rivalry. Whether 
for good or ill, Hanover, and with it Prussia, must now 
reckon with the enemies of England on the continent. 
Justly or unjustly, any great power at war with Great 
Britain would find it convenient to treat Hanover as an 
English continental possession, and this policy by very 
reason of the geographical situation just described, 
Prussia could not regard with indifference. It was such 
a view of the relations between Hanover and England 
that France most naturally adopted and for which she 
found plausible grounds in the attempt of the first two 
Georges to direct English policy from the standpoint of 
Hanoverian interests. Nor was the divergence of policy 
between Hanover and England during the earlier years 
of the reign of George HI. sufficient to prevent France 
from regarding Hanover as a convenient point of attack 
in her great struggle with an insular power v/hose navy 
rendered her inaccessible, Should Prussia at any tim^e 
during the great wars between these powers desire to 
remain neutral, and to make secure her neutrality by 
protecting Hanover from invasion, she would have to 
stand between the English sovereign and his German 
domains, while on the other hand she guarded them 
against French hostility. Such a situation would make 
Prussian-Hanoverian relations of central interest in 
Prussian history. 


The eighty years before the treaty of Basel, with 
which this study begins, furnish so many illustrations of 
the clashing or combining of the interests mentioned 
above that in selecting the years between 1795 and 1803 
we are not creating a period unrelated to the previous 
history of Prussia and Hanover or unconnected with 
their later development; 1795 does not begin, nor does 
1803 end, Prussian-Hanoverian relations. Possibly an 
illustration or two drawn from the reign of Frederick 
the Great may help us to understand how easily Prussia's 
interest in Hanover might lead to negotiations of the 
widest import. 

It will be recalled that in the struggles of the first half 
of the eighteenth century England had been directed by 
the first two Hanoverian sovereigns into the road which 
led to an alliance with Austria, and to the granting of 
subsidies to the smaller powers of north Germany in 
return for soldiers with which to fight France or defend 
Hanover. A divergence of purposes had gradually weak- 
ened the Anglo- Austrian alliance. Maria Theresa was 
absorbed in projects for the recovery of Silesia, a matter 
in which England, with a commercial and colonial empire 
at stake, manifested such small interest as to rouse the 
liveliest dissatisfaction on the part of the Empress-Queen. 
This was the diplomatic situation when in 1754 the open- 
ing gun of a great world struggle was fired in the woods 
of western Pennsylvania. England and France in America 
had begun what proved to be the decisive war in their 
century of conflict. George IL, alarmed for his Electo-^ 
rate, again sought by subsidies and by a renewal of the 
Austrian alliance to make England, as Pitt's brother-in- 
law, Temple, expressed it, an insurance office to Hanover. 
The negotiations with Austria were, however, balked by 
Maria Theresa's insistence that Prussia be named as one 


of the objects of the allies' hostile intentions. The failure 
of these negotiations left England at the opening of the 
decisive struggle without an ally. The one hopeful phase 
of the situation was that in the solicitude of King George 
for Hanover's safety, his English and Hanoverian advisers 
had an interest strong enough to lead their testy, narrow- 
minded master to an approchement with his hated nephew, 
Frederick H. of Prussia. A hint from the Duchess of 
Brunswick- Wolfenbiittel, a sister of Frederick, who was 
then seeking to marry one of her daughters to the future 
George HI., apprised Miinchhausen of George's mellower 
mood. This able Hanoverian minister ventured to ask 
on behalf of his Electorate and its sovereign the good 
offices of the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick- Wolfen- 
biittel with Frederick in behalf of the neutrality of Han- 
over.' The Prussian monarch was quick to follow the 
lead thus opened, and negotiations were begun which led 
ultimately to an English-Prussian alliance. Austria had 
already taken up the plan of a French alliance so long 
urged by Kaunitz, and the news of England's move 
served to hasten that "Diplomatic Revolution" which 
made France and Austria allies after two centuries of 
conflict. The complexity and world-extent of the inter- 
ests involved in the French-English duel for empire is 
nowhere better illustrated than in these two years (1754- 
1756), when a volley from the muskets of Washington's 
Virginians gave the signal to renew the struggle, while 
the negotiations begun by the King of England on be- 
half of Hanover's neutrality were "the germ of an alli- 
ance which was to shake the world." ' 

' Miinchhausen' s letter is in Politische Correspondenz Friedrich 11, 
vol. xi, pp. 246, 247. 

^ Ward, Great Britain and Hanover: Some Aspects of the Personal 
Union, Oxford, 1899, pp. 171-181. See also R. Waddington, La Guerre 
de Sept Ans: Les Debuts, chs. iv and v. 


The unity of Hanoverian-Prussian interests, which was 
realized whenever the Electorate was threatened by some 
European enemy of England, came to the surface again 
in 1778. To Frederick's alarm at the Austrian aggres- 
sion in Bavaria were added the fears produced by the 
news that France had concluded an alliance with Eng- 
land's rebellious American colonies. The Prussian king 
was naturally apprehensive that France might seek to 
fight America's battles in the woods of Germany. To 
protect the region thus threatened Frederick proposed 
the formation of a corps of defense composed of Prus- 
sian, Hanoverian and Brunswick troops partially sup- 
ported by English subsidies. The fate of the plan, like 
that of a later Demarcation Army, hung on the decision 
of the Hanoverian government, and its discussion intro- 
duces us to the name of Hardenberg, — the father, Han- 
over's field marshal, the son, of whom we shall hear 
more in connection with the later Demarcation Army, 
already high in the councils of his native state. ^ In 1784 
Frederick was again obliged to arouse north Germany 
against the efforts of Austria to increase her power at 
the expense of Bavaria. The government of Hanover 
was among the first to which he broached his plan of a 
Fiirstenbund. It was the influence of Hardenberg ex- 
erted through the Duke of York which brought his 
native state to view with favor the necessary military 
measures,^ and in the final negotiations it was a Hano- 
verian minister who framed the articles which leagued 
north Germany against Hapsburg aggression. These 
scattered instances of Hanoverian-Prussian relations in 
the years since 1714 show, that when we take up their 

^ Ranke, Denkwurdigkeiten Hardenbergs, i, 48 fit. 
"^ Ibid., i, p. 76. 


history at the close of the eighteenth century, we are 
simply selecting a few years in which the general course 
of events in Europe made particularly interesting a situ- 
ation which in its entirety still awaits adequate historical 

The eight years between 1795 and 1803 possess a cer- 
tain unity. They are the essential years in the history of 
Prussia's attempt to maintain neutrality amid the Titanic 
struggles of the rest of Europe against revolutionary 
France. In each stage of the development and decline 
of this Prussian neutrality system, Hanover played an 
important role, and at each stage its relations with Prus- 
sia became a center for the conflict of interests other than 
those of the two states primarily concerned; at no time 
are the Prussian diplomats left undisturbed to adjust 
with the ministry in Hanover their common interests 
and antagonisms. Thus it is that the history of their 
relations runs its course through eight years of French, 
Austrian, English and Russian moves and counter-moves. 

Before entering upon the complexities of the period, 
let us try to see what was that phase of Prussian policy 
which involved Hanover and made the attitude of Kings 
Frederick William II. and Frederick William III. and 
their ministers, Haugwitz and Hardenberg, toward the 
Electorate the key to much of their activity in these 
years. The first efforts of Prussia toward neutrality 
w^ere the result of the embarrassing position in which 
she found herself in 1794 as a consequence, in part, of 
her having joined the First Coalition in the war against 
France. Prussia's internal weakness and inability to 
realize on her resources, her endangered interests in 
Poland and the withdrawal of the English subsidies 
brought her to the special peace of Basel. In this peace 


Hardenberg, a Hanoverian in the service of Prussia, 
served his native and his adopted state by getting the 
French government to include the German lands of the 
king of England behind a demarcation line which neu- 
tralized that part of Germany east of the Rhine and 
north of the Main. The persistence of his Hanoverian 
ministers secured from George HI. an acquiescence in 
this neutrality. By that act Hanover renounced the 
policy of England, Austria and the Empire, and took her 
place in a nascent north Germany hegemony under Prus- 
sian leadership. But the neutrality arranged at Basel 
proved to be insufficient to protect the area included 
behind the first demarcation line, and the policy of 
Haugv;itz passed to the second stage. In 1796 a new 
demarcation line was negotiated, an army of Prussian, 
Hanoverian and Brunswick troops was organized to de- 
fend it, and a congress of the states protected was called 
to provide for the support of the Army of Observation. 
In each phase of the second stage Hanover was a most 
important factor. The success of the positive side of the 
system of neutrality, that side which was turned toward 
the minor north German powers and involved their co- 
operation with Prussia for mutual defense, was condi- 
tioned by the attitude of George III. and his Hanoverian 
ministry. In this period the relations between the two 
states become consequently a broader but not a less 
troubled stream. 

During the years from 1796 to 1800 there was a 
change of rulers in Prussia but no change in policy. 
Frederick William III., peace-loving to the point of 
weakness, clung to the system of neutrality under cir- 
cumstances which, it is safe to say, would have moved as 
vigorous and able a sovereign as Frederick William II. 
to active measures. Even Count Haugwitz, the founder 


of the system, urged his young master to consider the 
alliances against France which were being urged upon 
him. But the King's unconquerable aversion to war, 
rather than any statesman-like conception of a neutrality 
policy with its hand on the hilt of the sheathed sword, 
kept Prussia from joining the Second Coalition. The 
limits of our theme and the lack of important events in 
which Hanover was a considerable factor, justify the 
brief space given to the years 1796 to 1800. 

In 1800 Prussia for the first time in five years ap- 
peared upon the stage of European politics. Paul I. of 
Russia in his newly conceived hatred for England sought 
to cripple her and to testify his friendship for Napoleon 
by reviving the maritime principles which his mother, 
Empress Catherine, had formulated in 1780. To enforce 
them he organized a league which he either coaxed or 
compelled Sweden, Denmark and Prussia to join. This 
resulted in the most embarrassing complications for all 
participants. Prussia was forced to yield to Paul's de- 
mands that England be punished by a Prussian occupa- 
tion of Hanover. By that act Prussia endorsed a con- 
tention she had long denied, namely, the French view 
that the German states of George HI. were an English 
continental possession through whose seizure and ex- 
ploitation the insular power might be affected. Thus 
Prussia abandoned the fundamental tenet of any neutral- 
ity system for north Germany, that is, the view that the 
policies and interests of Hanover and England were so 
widely separated that the former might be drawn into 
the Prussian hegemony and its neutrality defended 
regardless of England's continuance of the struggle 
against France. If the fundamental tenet of a north 
German neutral zone was denied by Prussia's military 
occupation of Hanover, the continuance of that occupa- 


tion destroyed the fundamental condition of the poHcy 
Count Haugwitz had conceived, the confidence of the 
Hanoverians in Prussia's good intentions. The discus- 
sions of this period over the matter of indemnities for 
the territory ceded to France on the west bank of the 
Rhine and not the dangers that a French invasion of the 
Electorate would follow Prussian withdrawal, furnished 
the medium through which the Hanoverian ministry 
read Prussia's purposes in continuing the occupation. 
Should the future produce a crisis calling for prompt 
action and full co-operation on the part of Frederick 
William HI. and the Hanoverian ministry it would find 
the vision of both befogged by the events of 1801. 

Once away from the safe moorings of the six years 
just passed in review, the weak craft of Prussian states- 
manship was rapidly swept into troubled waters. The 
crisis forecast above was at hand when in 1803 France 
and England grappled in the final struggle, and the un- 
defended Electorate was again made the victim of its 
connection with the crown of England. Last scene of 
all, Prussia, in the face of a threatened French invasion of 
Hanover, abandons her position as the defender of the 
neutrality of north Germany and retires within her own 
boundaries. The unaided Electorate with its cumbrous 
and divided government, its antiquated means of defense 
and its shufifling, undecided leadership, was obliged to 
surrender at discretion to Napoleon's lieutenant, General 
Mortier. As 1801 was a prelude to 1803, so the 
humiliation of Prussia in permitting a French army to 
occupy Hanover in the heart of Prussian territory brings 
in its train the disasters of 1806. But the limits of the 
theme outlined in the preceding paragraphs forbid any 
ventures into this later and equally interesting field. 
The following chapters attempt the more modest task of 


studying from the view-point of Prussia's relations to 
Hanover, the inception, development and renunciation 
of the Prussian neutrality system. 

Having thus outlined the work in hand, it seems neces- 
sary to preface this study by a sketch of the Electorate 
of Hanover, presenting chiefly those events which illus- 
trate its political conditions. 

Braunschweig-Liineburg, to designate more exactly 
what we shall hereafter call Hanover, was an electoral 
province of the German Empire. In 1795 its area was 
about equal to that of Massachusetts and Connecticut 
and it had a population of alm^ost a million.^ Roughly 
speaking, it included the region between the Weser and 
the Elbe to about one hundred and twenty-five miles 
from their outlets. Irrespective of size or population, 
Hanover's location made it the key to North Germany. 
A strong power once in possession of Hanover could 
easily threaten the commerce of Hamburg, Bremen and 
Liibeck, through whose ports went part of the food 
supplies of the northern nations and of England and 
France. The great commercial routes to Leipzig and 
southeastern Europe as well as those to Frankfort and 
the Rhine region were either within or near Hanover's 
borders. No nation could safely occupy Holland as long 
as its enemy had an army on Hanoverian soil. Thus in 
1795 France had a double reason for agreeing to the 

^ Ernst V, Meier, Hannoversche Verfassungs — und Verwaltungs- 
geschichte, i, p. 100, gives 750,000; Thimme, Innere Zustande Han- 
novers, etc., vol. i, p. i, gives 900,000. 

An article in The Porcupine (London daily), Feb. 14, 1801, puts the 
population at 1,062,500 (but counts Bremen as one of chief cities with 
28,000 inhabitants). The annual revenue is placed at ;^820,ooo, mili- 
tary charges ^230,000, general expenses ;i^552,ooo. The debt is given 
as about ^5,500,000. The article then briefly summarizes the resources 
and industries of the Electorate. 


Prussian neutrality for Hanover. France could thus 
keep open its trade with the Hanseatic cities and be able 
to prevent the gathering of the Emigrant and Dutch 
corps behind the Weser. Then perhaps deeper than 
these two motives was the desire to hamper England's 
movements by neutralizing and later seizing Hanover, 
which, as has been indicated, the French chose to treat 
as an English continental possession. 

To understand this peculiar relation between England 
and Hanover, we need to go back a little in English his- 
tory.^ In 1714 George William the Second, Elector of 
Hanover, had left his little German state to become King 
George the First of England. Both he and his son, 
George the Second, who was twenty-seven years old 
when he became Prince of Wales, returned frequently to 
visit their loyal Hanoverian subjects, but George HI. had 
never set foot in his Electoral possessions. His interest 
in Hanover, however, had prevented any noticeable break 
in the policy pursued by his predecessors in governing 
Hanover. This Personal Union, which lasted from 171 5 
till 1837,^ and the relation of the English king to his 
electoral possessions will become clearer if we review 
briefly the instruments by which they were established. 

From the English side the Personal Union was shaped 

^The history of the accession of the Hanoverian dynasty to the Eng- 
lish throne has never received full and special treatment. The best 
material is in Michael, Gesch. Englands im Achtzehnten Jahrhundert, 
and Salomon, Gesch. des letzten Ministeriums Konigin Annas v. Eng- 
land (Gotha, 1894). The fourth volume of Koecher's Gesch. Hannover 
u. Braunschweig in the Pub. aus den preuss. Archiven will deal with 
the question, 

^The Personal Union lasted until the accession of Victoria, who, 
according to the Salic law prevailing in Hanover, could not succeed to 
the German possessions of her uncle, William IV. They passed to her 
uncle Ernst Augustus, fourth son of George IH. 


by the Act of Settlement, 1701, which was framed with 
specific reference to such a contingency as arose when 
the Guelph dynasty came to the throne with George the 
First. On the Hanoverian side the relations between 
the absent ruler and his hereditary estates were regulated 
by an ordinance issued by George I. on his leaving 
Hanover in 1714. 

The provisions of the Act of Settlement ^ which inter- 
est us are those limiting the succession to the Electress 
Sophia and her descendants, if Protestants ; and provid- 
ing that, in the event of the succession of a foreign-born 
sovereign, the nation should not be engaged without the 
consent of Parliament in war for the defence of any do- 
minions or territories not belonging to the crown of 
England ; and that all persons born of foreign parents 
out of the United Kingdom or Ireland, whether or not 
such persons had been naturalized, were excluded from 
the Privy Council, from Parliament, from any civil or 
military office of trust, and from the benefit of any grant 
of lands. The first provision was satisfied by George I. 
following the Lutheran confession as had his forefathers. 
The second was intended as a club in the hands of Parlia- 
ment to enable it to direct all treaty-making to the in- 
terest of England. The clause was, however, non-opera- 
tive during the reign of the first two Georges. The 
third clause cited above was most strictly enforced, as 
Hanoverians were carefully kept from obtaining English 
appointments, while on the other hand it is interesting 
to note there is but one instance on record where an 
Englishman was appointed to Hanoverian service. A 
fourth clause in the Act of Settlement was repealed 

^ 12 Wm. Ill, 2. Cf. Pickering's Statute s-at-large , vol. i. Discussed 
clearly by Hallam. 


almost on the accession of the Hanoverians, that is, the 
provision that no future sovereign should go out of the 
dominions of England, Scotland and Ireland without the 
consent of Parliament/ Both the first two Georges 
visited Hanover whenever they chose despite the outcry 
against it in England. 

Before leaving Hanover in 1714, George the First 
issued an ordinance regulating the government of the 
Electorate in his absence. By this ^^ reglement,'' military 
matters in general were reserved by him for his own de- 
cision. In foreign affairs the ministry^ in Hanover or 
the Regency as it was called, was to conduct matters 
of ordinary interest in the name of the Elector. Han- 
overian envoys at foreign courts were to send two 
reports — one to London and one to Hanover. The for- 
eign relations of the two powers were kept technically 
separate, though we shall later find English and Han- 
overian ministers working hand and glove for objects of 
mutual advantage. Further, the knowledge of England's 
king concerning affairs at European courts — particularly 
at Berlin and Vienna and later at St. Petersburg — must 
have been clearer and surer with the reports of such men 
as the Hanoverian envoys, Ompteda, Hardenberg and 
Miinster to supplement the observations of the English 

If in foreign affairs the emergency was pressing, the 
ministry at Hanover was to decide without waiting for 
the king's approval even in matters of peace and war. 
The ministry could call the provincial states and propose 

^ On this whole paragraph see A. W. Ward, Great Britain and Han- 
over, chap. ii. 

^The ministry, some five or six in number, were chosen from the 
ruHng aristocracy in Hanover. 


legislation to them. It could also confirm sentences, 
transmitting the facts only when it seemed possible the 
king might mitigate the sentence. The ministry's ap- 
pointive powers were strictly limited as was its power to 
appropriate money without the king's consent. Meier, 
the able constitutional historian of Hanover, has well 
pointed out that in the indefiniteness of the clause as to 
the ministry's acting alone in matters of importance, lay 
the possibility for the king and his advising minister in 
London and the ministry in Hanover to shirk responsi- 
bility for the disasters of the period before us. Tele- 
graphs and cables, mail-ship lines and railroads had not 
then become the tools of statesmen. Sail-boats and 
postmen could bring the rescripts of George the Third 
to Hanover in about the time they might now reach 
Hanover from New York. 

Much more has been written about a feature of the 
government which was not mentioned in this almost for- 
gotten ordinance of 1714, than about the ordinance itself: 
I refer to the residence at London of one member of the 
Hanoverian ministry. Through this member, who was 
practically a prime minister directing his colleagues from 
London, the king learned of Hanoverian affairs. The 
royal instructions, or rescripts as they were called, bear 
the countersignature of the minister '' next to the royal 
person." Englishmen, always jealous of foreign influ- 
ences, were at that day particularly ready to see in the 
foreign poHcies of the first two Georges nothing but 
Hanoverian policy transferred to a wider sphere. Much 
ink and more words have been wasted about the sup- 
posed influence over English kings of the members of the 
German Chancery,^ popularly known as '' the Hanoverian 

^ " Deutsche Kanzlei." 


Junta."'' The union, however, was a purely personal one 
which in outward forms at least, did not go further than 
the subordination to a common sovereign and the use of 
the same coat of arms. Despite the looseness of the 
bond which bound them, the existence of the Personal 
Union was a fact which could not be without its effect on 
both members. The very nominal character of this con- 
nection and the disadvantages that accrued to Hanover 
as the result of its elector's absence, should not blind the 
investigator to such interesting topics as the cultural 
interaction of the two states which found its visible ex- 
pression in the newly founded university at Gottingen 
whose establishment was, in its turn, but a manifestation 
of the increased prestige which the connection with Eng- 
land had brought to Hanover. 

The great central fact remains after even the most 
painstaking efforts to compass the less tangible lines of 
connection just suggested, that in matters of national 
interest England went its way almost unmoved by con- 
siderations as to the German possessions of its sovereign 
while, on the other hand, the Hanoverian ministry was 
not controlled by Walpole and Pitt.^ Instances might 

^Adolphus W. Ward in the Ford Lectures at Oxford in 1899, gave 
the matter its first special investigation in anything like a scientific way. 
The lectures published as Great Britain and Hanover: Some Aspects of 
the Personal Union, Oxford, 1899, if not completely convincing, are 
at least very suggestive and worthy of careful reading. 

'^In Appendix B at the end of this chapter will be found the opinion 
of the Russian ambassador, Simon Woronzow, on the completeness of 
this separation during the period covered by the following chapters. 
The chapters on the Prussian occupation of Hanover in 1801 show Eng- 
lish statesmen interceding for the Electorate. The charge that Pitt 
controlled the electoral vote of Hanover at Regensburg was a favorite 
one with the pamphleteers of this period. See for example, Nieder- 
sachsen nebst den Hansestddten, Hamburg, Bremen und Lubeck nach 
ihren neuern politischen Verhdltnissen (Hamburg, 1801), 


be multiplied to show how desirous the English were to 
keep the separation as complete as that provided in the 
Act of Settlement/ The member of the Hanoverian 
ministry resident in London was regarded as the ambas- 
sador of Hanover at St. James. It was indeed proposed 
at first that the English prime minister should be present 
when he interviewed the King, even about matters con- 
cerning Hanover's internal affairs, but this was so 
utterly impracticable, particularly as the business was 
conducted in German, an unknown tongue to British 
statesmen, that the plan was soon abandoned. It is not 
at all uncommon to find Hanoverian ambassadors filling 
their reports with surmises as to the significance of cer- 
tain actions of the British representatives, of whose plans 
and purposes they knew as little as they did of those of 
the ambassadors of Russia or France. I remember but 
one, possibly two, instances in all the ministerial corres- 
pondence of eight years when the cabinet at Hanover 
ventured to suggest to their colleague in London that 
he should seek to learn from the king something about 
the English plans. Even then their timidity was touch- 
ing. Poor von Lenthe ^ in his turn was complaining in 
the very crisis when Hanover's fate hung on the turn 
given to matters at St. James, that it was useless for him 
to seek information of the English Cabinet as to their 

^See Ompteda, Die Ueberwaltigung Hannovers durch die Franzosen, 
pp. 4-1 1. The two armies though under the nominal command of the 
same sovereign were entirely separate, and England made subsidy treat- 
ies with Hanover as it did with other German states. Sometimes it 
sought the aid of the other German states first. Thus it happened that 
in the American war for independence, Hessians and not Hanoverians 
opposed the patriots. Hassell {Das KurfUrstenthum Hannover, etc., 
p. d"]) says that Hanover refused to allow Hessians intended for Amer- 
ica to march through the Electorate, and that the Americans bought 
arms and cavalry equipment of Hanoverian factors. 

^Hanoverian minister in London in 1803. 


plans. The cold, hard egoism with which England 
yielded up Hanover to the disaster which its connection 
with England brought upon it in 1801, and again in 1803, 
would have aroused indignation in any but a people as 
loyal to their reigning house as were the Hanoverians 
throughout this long period/ 

In the eighty years since the Elector had given over 
the direct government into ministerial hands, Hanover 
had come to be ruled by a close corporation of the old 
nobility. While Prussia went forward under the enlight- 
ened despotism of Frederick the Great, Hanover decayed 
in economic and political vigor under the aristocratic 
rule of the privileged class. The leading governmental 
places were regarded almost as matters of inheritance in 
the old families of Hanover. Corruption and nepotism 
were rife. Reforms were demanded, but the demands 
were hushed up. True, the government was mild, but 
that was because it feared opposition and shunned pub- 
licity more than all else. Thus it was that by 1795 the 
government had lost all real vigor and power of initia- 
tive. It needed but the shock of really aggressive action 
on the part of some hostile neighbor and the whole 
structure would come tumbling down around the ears of 
its dozing occupants.^ 

^ The French occupation of 1803 called forth a flood of pamphlets, 
many on the connection with the English and its effect upon Hanover. 
The pamphlet of Doctor Jur. Seumnich and the replies thereto are de- 
voted to the effects of the Personal Union. Most of them are a weari- 
ness to the flesh. All of them are well reviewed in Jendische Allge- 
•meine Zeitung, Feb.-May., 1806, Nos. 27-34 inc., and Nos. 57 and 58. 

^The best summary of conditions in Hanover in 1795 is to be found 
in Max Lehmann's Scharnhorst, vol. i, 81-87. The particularism of 
the provinces into which Hanover was divided is well brought out by 
Spittler in the Introduction to his Geschichte des Furstenthums Han- 
nover, After describing the simple method by which the grant of a 
tax was obtained in George HI.'s EngHsh domains he continues, "aber 


Following the tendency in every government, the 
aristocratic government of the Hanoverian nobility put 
the actual work of governing more and more into the 
hands of a bureaucracy of secretaries and subordinates, 
who were generally men with legal training. These 
subordinates were not mere transcribers of minutes and 
keepers of books, but exercised a positive influence 
on the course of affairs. Those holding the higher 
secretarial positions, for instance, prepared and pre- 
sented to the easy-going and negligent ministry elab- 
orate reports and recommendations as to the depart- 
ments with which they were connected. If the 
secretaries were men of force and industry and learning, 
the higher officials found it easier to follow their opinion 
than to work over the field and obtain an independent 
view. Thus the real governors were hidden from 
view, and, most fatal of all, did not bear the responsi- 
bility for measures and conditions they really created. 
In the period about 1795 the results of the absence of 
the Elector were most apparent. There was no one 
guiding, responsible, never-resting force keeping all parts 
up to their best efficiency and lopping off the useless 
members. The ministry of the day, the Regency as it 
was generally called, was a comfortable, easy-going group 
of elderly aristocrats whose conception of the good of 

wenn eben derselbe von seinen sammtlichen teutschen Unterthanen, 
welche ungefahr hochstens den zehnten Theil seiner Insulaner aus- 
machen, eine allgemeine neue Steuer verlangt, so muss mit sechs ver- 
schiedenen Parlementern vorher gehandelt werden und jedes verschied- 
ene Parlamenter besteht aus mehreren Classen von Landstanden 
gleichwichtiger Rechte und gleichversicherten Privilegien, welche alle, 
so sehr sonst ihre Vorziige verschieden sind, um ihre freie Einwilligung 
hieriiber befragt werden miissen; auch will am Ende das Volk im 
Lande Hadeln noch besonders gebeten sein." Quoted in the bro- 
chure, Miissen Wir Nicht von England Getrennt werden (Germanien, 


the state was interchangeable with their view of the 
interests of the class they represented.' Their bureau- 
cratic, bourgeois under-secretaries were men to whom 
public opinion attributed an even more rigid insistence 
on privilege and place. Naturally enough such condi- 
tions, while they made the rule of the aristocracy toler- 
able, did not make it popular, and the doctrines of the 
French Revolution found fertile soil among the radicals 
who were already conscious of the political lethargy that 
had crept over Hanover in the last fifty years. 

The personal character of the Hanoverian statesman 
of this period does not need to hold our attention long. 
Count von Miinster, the Hanoverian minister to the 
court at St. Petersburg, and Ludwig von Ompteda, 
the representative at Berlin, deserve especial mention 
as men of clear vision and undoubted ability as dip- 
lomats.^ The names of Baron von Lenthe, the head of 
the London Chancery in the later years of our period, 
of Count von Wallmoden-Gimborn, natural son of 
George H. and commander of the Hanoverian army, and 
of Geheimersecretar Rudloff, will be of interest to any 
one who works over the pamphlet literature called out 

^*' Es (Regency) besteht ganz aus adelichen Mitgliedern, und macht 
in der Abwesenheit des Churfiirsten den eigentlichen Souverain des 
Landes aus . . . Als Mitglieder der privilegirten Kaste, suchen sie 
deren Bestes hauptsachlich zu befordern und nehmen darnach den 
Maasstab des offentlichen Wohls ab." Dr. Jur. Seumnich, Ueber die 
Verbindung des Churfurstenthums Hannover mit England, etc. (Ham- 
burg, 1803) , 26-27. It would seem as one looks through the pamphlets 
called forth by Dr. Seumnich's brochure that it was this sentence rather 
than the disaster of the French invasion which precipitated the lusty 
'*Federkrieg" of 1803. 

^ On Miinster's later career (1809, 1815), see the article by Prof. 
Ulmann in the Historische Zeitschrift , 1868, 338 . . . Ompteda' s career 
is sketched by his son in the introduction to Politischer Nachlass des 
hannoverschen Stdats — und Cabinettministers , Ludwig von Ompteda ^ 
aus den Jahren 1804 bis 1833. (Jena, 1869, 3 vols.) 


by the disasters of 1803. The actions of these men in 
connection with the events between 1795 and 1803 will 
sufficiently bespeak their character and ability. One 
of them, however, may well be described here as the 
type of the bureaucrat who under the old regime might 
attain to power in a government so lacking in virility. 
The dominance in Hanoverian councils v/hich public 
opinion attributed to such a man as Wilhelm Augustus 
-Rudloff, for it is to him I refer, tells one much of the 
:government of the Electorate at the close of the 
eighteenth century. 

This man who passed in the public opinion of the day 
as the real power in the government, "le roi d'Hanovre," 
'' der kleine Kaunitz," as he was popularly called, was 
officially only a GeheiTnersecretar. Through real ability, 
of a pedantic sort perhaps, and immense capacity for 
work even of the most detailed kind, he had assumed 
the directing influence in the government. From the 
drafting of the most important state papers and the ex- 
ecution of the weightiest commissions, to the copying and 
storing of the documents in the governmental archives, 
Rudloff was the power that got things done, and a man 
who did things was the crying necessity in the govern- 
ment of the ancien rkgiTne. 

Rudloff obtained his doctorate at Gottingen in 1767, 
when twenty years of age. After a brief experience as a 
lecturer at the University of Biitzow, he was called to 
Hanover as legal adviser to the government. Five years 
later he left the legal department for the state depart- 
ment {Geheime Kanzlei) . From 1786 on he was practi- 
cally secretary for foreign and imperial affairs, as well as 
acting-secretary of the ministry, keeping its minutes and 
drafting all its reports to the minister in London and 
the instructions to the ministers at foreign courts. On 

48 1 ] INTRO D UCTION ^^ 

many occasions his reports were called for, and on all 
occasions he was present to see that the ministry trans- 
acted the necessary business in the prescribed way. 
Such an active, able and forceful person no doubt put 
the stamp of his personality on much of the ministerial 
policy during his term. Rudloff then must take his fair 
share of the blame that always attaches to persons trying 
to work an unworkable system. Trained like his col- 
leagues and his superiors in the formal, technical law of 
the cumbrous Imperial system, he saw nothing beyond 
it. They were all absorbed in routine work and had no 
eyes for the new conditions in the Germany of their day. 
Rudloff's limitations were those of the class he typified — 
the legally trained, somewhat pedantic bureaucrat, into 
whose hands had fallen most of the governmental busi- 
ness of the German states of the eighteenth century.^ 

Really able and progressive men v/ere hard to hold in 
the Hanoverian service. The absence of the sovereign 
narrowed the field of activity; the main object was simply 
to keep the government going. ^ There was no such 
thing as a definite, self-conscious Hanoverian policy 
The absent elector's best energies and real interests 
were given to the English people. Capable Hanoverian 
officials working without the direct supervision of the 
sovereign found advancement too slow for a progressive 
and ambitious man. Promotion must come through the 
favor of an aristocratic ministry drawn from the old 

^E. Brandes, Betrachtungen uber den Zeitgeist, etc, 14, 15 (Han- 
nover, 1808). Also Meier, Hannoversche Verfassungs- und Verwalt- 
ufigs-Geschichte . (Leipzig, 1899.) As to the powers of the secretaries 
in Hanover, see the pamphlet. " Ueber d. hannoverischen Adel u. die 

^The evils of the Elector's absence were frankly pointed out to King 
George by Hardenberg in his resignation from the Hanoverian service 
in 1781. Ranke, Hardenberg i, p. 56. 


nobility, and it could not be expected that they would 
push into power a class who were not "hoffahig." 

By the side of this moribund state was the more ag- 
gressive Prussia of Frederick the Great to which the 
interests of the Germans of the larger patriotism and 
deeper ambition were turning/ Baron vom Stein, well 
and favorably known in Hanover through his service in 
the Westphalian states of Prussia, was offered a position 
in the Hanoverian ministry (1802), but he preferred the 
service of Frederick the Great, ^ and this despite the fact 
that his family ties bound him closely to the ruling aris- 
tocracy of Hanover.3 He saw no future in this '' German 
China" as he called Hanover. Scharnhorst, whose mili- 
tary reforms make him share with Stein the title of 
founder of modern Prussia, discouraged at the failure of 
his efforts to reform the Hanoverian army, resigned his 
commission in January, 1801, and entered the Prussian 
service. Hardenberg, the successor of Stein and the ex- 
ecutor of his reforms, was born and raised a Hanoverian 
and devoted the earlier years of his life to his country's 
service. But convinced after long waiting, even at the 
court of George HI. in London, that the road to higher 
places was too long and uncertain, he left the Hanover- 

^ For a masterly review of conditions in Prussia in 1800 (ca.), see the 
essay by Max Lehmann, Das alte Preussen, in the Hist. Zeit., vol. xc, 

385 ff. 

^Lehmann, Stein, vol. i, 246. Pertz, ii, 194-195. Pertz points out 
that several native Hanoverians of real ability were kept in second rate 
offices, ^.^., Rehberg, Brandes, Rumann, Hoppenstedt, Rose. The 
commander of the Russian forces at Eylau and Friedland, and the leader 
of the party that murdered Czar Paul, was a Hanoverian — General 
Bennigsen. Cf. Memoirs of Prince Adam Czartoryski, i, 239, 240, 248. 
London, 1888. 

^ Two members of the Hanoverian ministry, Steinberg and Kielman- 
segg were brothers-in-law of Stein, and his father-in-law was Count 
Wallmoden-Gimborn . 


ian state to pass by way of Brunswick into the service of 
Prussia. Scharnhorst, Hardenburg, Stein^ — to have lost 
such a galaxy of genius is the greatest reproach utterable 
against the ancient regime in Hanover. To have drawn 
them into the Prussian service is the greatest tribute 
that can be paid to the state of Frederick the Great.'' 

A poor boat and indifferent seamanship may navigate 
peaceful waters. So, had peace been granted it, " the 
paternal government" of Hanover might have gone on 
many years in safety. But troublous days were ahead of 
it, for the waves of the French Revolution were dashing 
against and dashing down the old order in the old Europe. 

The South German states were not the only members 
of the empire affected by the doctrines and events of the 
French Revolution. Hanover, with its mild government 
arid more than English tolerance of free speech and free 
press, was touched by a wave of sympathy for the move- 
ment which seemed to promise so much. ^ The students of 
Gottingen were up to the mark of student enthusiasm for 
new doctrines and stirring reform^s, and still more stable 
writers and thinkers rejoiced at the advance of republic- 
anism in France.'^ 

^Beyme, one of Frederick William III.'s closest advisers, was also a 
Hanoverian. Bailleu, in the Deutsche Rundschau, xx, 271. The writer 
in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographic disagrees. 

' For a most interesting list of the foreigners who were influential 
in Prussia during the neutrality period, see Seeley's Life of Stein, part 
iii, chap. ii. It is interesting to note how many of the public men 
mentioned in this study were students in Gottingen during the period 
when Piitter and Schlozer were lecturing. 

^ On the effect of the French Revolution in Hanover see Weiland, 
Festrede im Namen d. Georg. Augustus Universiidt , etc . , (Gottingen, 
1889.) E. Brandes, Ueber einige bisherige Folgen d. franzos. Revolu- 
tion vorzii-glich in Deutschland, second ed. (1792), also Brandes, Ueber 
den Zeitgeist, etc., pp. 180 et seq. (Hanover, 1808). 

* On lack of real patriotism in Germany at this time see Pertz, Stein, 
i, p. 87, and E. Brandes, op. cit. 


But all this new thought, from the ebullitions of the 
students to the stimulating and reasonable articles of 
Prof. Schlozer, led to no overt action until the summer 
of 1792. It was then that, influenced perhaps by Cus- 
tine's victories in South Germany, the opposition to 
certain oppressive taxes in the neighboring bishopric of 
Hildesheim seized the occasion to organize itself. The 
uprising spread to the adjoining Hanoverian principali- 
ties. The agitation against the unpopular tax in Calen- 
berg, one of the six divisions of Hanover, was led by a 
certain von Berlepsch,^ a school friend of Hardenberg,'* 
who had himself led the local opposition to this tax. 
Von Berlepsch seems to have lacked good judgment. He 
sought to make out of the Diet of Calenberg a National 
Assembly, but only succeeded in getting himself called 
the "Calenberg Mirabeau." Only the mildness of the 
government 3 prevented von Berlepsch from proving him- 
self more than a rather able demagogue. His attempts 
to get the Calenberg Nation " to declare its neutrality in 
the struggle of its elector against France found no 
encouragement in the local diet. His appeal to the 
people resulted in his being ousted by George HI. from 
the ofifices he held.^ 

Nevertheless, the period of unrest and disorder does 
not seem to have ended with the exit of von Berlepsch. 

^ Herr A. Wunsch, Gottingen, will shortly publish a study of von 

^See below for further evidence of their relations. Berlepsch 's 
mother was a von Hardenberg. 

^ " No government could be more mild, and an air of general content 
is spread over all the inhabitants." The Porcupine [a London daily], 
Feb. 14, 1801. 

*It is interesting to note that von Berlepsch appealed his case to the 
Reichs Kammergericht at Wetzlar and got a decision in his favor to 
which the Hanoverian Regency paid no attention. 


Hanover in 1795 was regarded as a sort of revolutionary 
tinder-box/ It needed but a spark from an invading 
French army to start a conflagration dangerous to the 
peace and safety of its neighbors.^ The real imminence 
of such a danger may well be doubted. We can safely 
go no farther than to say, like the ancien regime in 
France itself, the paternal and easy-going government 
had encouraged the circulation of political doctrines 
which, had there been real grievances and a less phleg- 
matic people than the lower Saxons, ^ might have led to 
serious results under a demagogic leader like von Ber- 

The electorate of Hanover as such had not been a par- 
ticipant in the campaigns against the French. At Regens- 
burg the ministry had been of the party of moderation. 
They deprecated any rash action of the empire in reply 
to the decisions of the National Assembly, and it was not 
until March, 1793, that a Hanoverian contingent joined 
the allied army. The loss of the Netherlands as the re- 
sult of the campaign of 1792 threatened English and 
Hanoverian interests, and the cabinet and the elector 
bargained with the English to furnish some thirteen 
thousand mercenaries. This was about half of the Han- 
overian army. 

The difficulty the authorities found in filling out the 

^ Malmesburg writing in 1795 speaks of a "Great Jacobin party in 
Germany, particularly about Hamburg in Westphalia," Diaries, etc., 
iii, 44. Reinhard, the French agent to the Hansa cities, sends some 
interesting reports to Paris on conditions in Hanover. See Wohlwill's 
summary in Hist. Zeit., 1884, 410-41 1. Revolutionary tendencies are 
distinctly emphasized in these reports. 

* These are the words put into the mouth of Hardenberg at Basel by 
Frederick William II. 

^On the '' Schwerfdlligkeit" of the Hanoverians of that day see 
Stein's letter in Pertz, i, 108 and note 29 to vol. i. 


ranks of the regiments illustrates how little enthusiasm 
there was for military matters among the Lower Saxons. 
Volunteers were loath to enter the regular service, and 
attempts to recruit in Hanover were unsuccessful. Men, 
if they had the money, paid large sums for substitutes. 
If they were poor, they fled the country to escape the 
night raids of the recruiting officer. The ministry was 
obliged to transfer its efforts to the neighboring Im- 
perial cities and ecclesiastical estates. Even after resort- 
ing to such subterfuges the promised contingent went 
forth two thousand men short. These difficulties make 
it plain why Hanover, when called on for its Reichs- 
contingent, preferred to pay a money subsidy. 

The Hanoverians under the aged Field-Marshal Frey- 
tag were attached to the allied army under the young 
Duke of York. They took a most honorable part in the 
campaigns of 1793 and 1794, and the escape of the 
gallant General Hammerstein from the beleagured Menin 
is one of the most brilliant and daring things in all 
military history. Scharnhorst, then a Hanoverian cap- 
tain of artillery, received his baptism of fire in these 
campaigns and gained himself a place on the staff of 
Count Wallmoden-Gimborn who took command after 
the departure of the Duke of York. 

March, 1795, saw the English and their mercenaries 
ensconced behind the line of the Ems — depleted in num- 
bers and depressed in spirits. Before them was the 
victorious army of the French under Pichegru. The 
situation was critical. Would the Prussian troops has- 
tening from Clerfait's army on the Upper Rhine be in 
time to support Wallmoden? Fortunately the matter 
was not brought to a pitched battle, for the French, 
receiving word as to the negotiations at Basel, withdrew 
into Holland. To these negotiations at Basel we must 
next turn our attention. 

CHAPTER I— Appendix A. 

The following list of Hanoverian ministers is taken 
from the table given in Meier's Hannoversche Verfassungs- 
und Verwaltungeschichte, 1 680-1 866, Vol. H, p. 638. The 
list in Meier covers the period 1680-1848, and the recur- 
rence of family names until we have Alvensleben HI, 
Busche V, Lenthe HI, Hardenberg HI, and Grote IV 
shows how the great families kept in power, generation 
after generation. 

In the period covered by this monograph, we have as 
members of the cabinet in Hanover : 

Graf Kielmansegg, Karl Rudolph August, 1779-1806. (Kammerprasi- 
dent from 1792-1806.) 

Gotthelf Dieterich Ende, 1782-1798. 

Ludwig Friederich Beulwitz, 1782-1796. 

Christian Ludwig August Arnswaldt I, 1783-1806. 

Georg August Steinberg II, 1792-1801. 

Ernst Ludwig Julius Lenthe III, 1795-1805 (minister resident in Lon- 
don for his whole term). 

Glaus V. d. Decken, 1 796-1 823. 

Georg Friedrich August v. d. Wense, 1801-1811. 

Christian Ludwig Hake II, 1801-1818. 

Otto Ulrich Grote IV, 1801-1808. 

As has been mentioned, Dr. Rudloff was Wiirklicher 
Geheimer Secretar and Archivarius. Dr. George H. 
Nieper was his assistant, and George August Best was 
secretary to the minister in London, von Lenthe.^ 

From the Staatskalendar we learn that for the period 

^ See Koeniglich. Grossbritannischen u. Kurfuerstlichen Braun- 
schweig-Lueneberg. Staatskalendar for 1 795-1803. 

487] 49 


1 795-1803 Hanover's representatives at other courts 
were distributed as follows : 

Vienna: Graf von Hardenberg and Herr v. Miihl. 

Berlin : Julius v. Lenthe, with Carl Adolph v. Ompteda as Canzlei 
Auditor. Lenthe was succeeded in 1796 by Ludwig C, G. v. 
Ompteda, who acted until 1800 as von Reden, appointed in 1797, 
was otherwise employed, principally at the Congress of Rastatt. 

Regensburg : Hanover's Comitial Gesandter was Dietrich Heinrich 
Ludwig von Ompteda. 

Dresden : Von Bremer, with Ludwig C. G. v. Ompteda,^ later at Ber- 
lin, as Canzlei Auditor. No reports of von Bremer's for the years 
1795-1803 were to be found in the archives at Hanover. This is 
deeply to be regretted, as the relations between the two elector- 
ates of Saxony and Hanover appear to have been intimate. 

Frankfort (for Mainz, Koln and Oberrhein) : Von Reden, 1794-1797, 
with Schwarzkopf as Canzlei-Secretar. On von Reden's appoint- 
ment to the Congress of Rastatt and then to Berlin, Schwarzkopf 
became his successor. 

Munich (for Kurpfalz) : Geheimer Legationsrat von Ompteda. 

Netherlands : Geo. von Hiniiber. 

Anspach (for Franconia) : Herr Schegk — his name disappears in 1802. 

Swabia, Wurtemberg, Baden and Pfalz-Zweibriicken : Herr von Kiichel. 

Lower Saxon Circle : Von Reden from 1798 on. 

Appendix B 

Simon Woronzow, Russian ambassador in London, on 
the Separation of Hanover and Great Britain (in Wassil- 
schikof, Les Razoufnowsky, II, pt. IV, pp. 242-245 of 
Brueckner's French edition). 

Separation of Hanover and Great Britain. 

Count Woronzow, Londres, \ 
le i'jJ2%juillet 1795. J 
** . . . Je ne manquerai pas sans doute d'apres la requisition de m — r 
le baron de Thugut de parler a Mylord Grenville sur 1' inconcevable 
conduite du ministre de I'eiecteur d'Hanovre a la diete de Ratisbonne et 

^ Cf. Irrfahrten u. Abenteuer eines Mittelstaatlichen Diplomaten: Ein 
Lebens- und Kulturbild aus den Zeiten um 1800 (Leipzig, Hirzel, 1894,. 
PP« 435) > by Ludwig v. Ompteda. 


sur les fatales consequences que cette etrange conduite a produites dans 
les affaires de 1' Empire.^ Mais je ne puis vous cacher, que mylord Gren- 
ville ne pent rien dans cette affaire. II y a une ligne de demarcation 
inviolable, qui coupe toute interference du ministre britannique dans 
toute affaire qui regarde I'electorat d'Hanovre. Le ministere hanovrien 
est si jaloux de son independance qu'il s'efforce en toute occasion de 
representer a I'electeur-roi, que son pays en Allemagne ne doit jamais 
etre influence par le ministere britannique, comme si celui-ci pouvait en 
quelques affaires que ce soit, surtout en politique etrangere, faire quelque- 
chose contre le gre ou a I'insu de son souverain. Cette apprehension 
de la regence de Hanovre est affectee et m^ise toujours en avant pour la 
ridicule gloriole de m — rs les ministres de la regence et pour satisfaire 
leurs vues et leurs interets prives. lis sont pour le plupart attaches au 
systeme prussien. lis ne voient ou ne veulent pas voir les perfides de 
la Prusse. lis ne veulent pas comprendre, que I'agrandissement de la 
maison d'Autriclie, de laquelle I'electorat etant separe de toute la 
largeur d'Allemagne, n'a rien de dommageable pour lui et ne fait que 
raffermir son independance, mais qu'au contraire si I'Autriche est 
affaiblie, rien en Allemagne ne pourra resister a la rapacite prussienne, 
et I'electorat de Hanovre comme voisin et intermediaire entre le duche 
de Magdeburg et les etats prussiennes en Westphalia ne manquera pas 
de tomber un jour entre les mains rapaces de la cour de Berlin et finira 
par devenir province de I'ambitieuse monarchic prussienne. 

" Ce qu'il y a plus m.alheureux dans la conduite actuelle de la regence 
de Hanovre et de son ministre a Ratisbonne, c'est qu'outre le mal qu'ils 
ont fait ils calomnient implicitement un des plus vertueux souverains, qui 
ait jamais honore un trone: ils le calomnient, dis-je, parce que chez 
nous, en Espagne et partout ailleurs on croit, que jamais cette regence, 
qui n'a d'autre autorite que celle que lui veut bien confier Telecteur-roi 
son maitre, n'aurait pu prendre sur elle d'agir de cette maniere dans 
une affaire de telle importance si elle n'etait autorisee pour cela par ce 
souverain, qui est le vrai maitre et dont elle doit suivre toutes les 
volontes a I'egard de I'administration de I'etat et de ses rapports 

" S. M. le roi de la grande Bretagne est un prince ferme et vertueux. 
Vous pouvez etre sur, m — r le comte, qu' il est incapable d'agir autre- 
ment qu'avec la plus grande franchise. Le malheur est qu'il est indul- 
gent a I'exces, que vertueux lui meme, il croit au vertu d'une plus 
grande masse d'hommes qu'il n'y en a malheuresement et qu'il ne 
soupQonne pas, que ses ministres sont pour la plupart moins Hanovriens 
que Prussiens et illumines. Un autre malheur est que mylord Grenville 

^ The conduct of Ompteda in voting for Prussian mediation, ci. Vivenot's Sacshsen- 
Teschen, pp. 199, 397-99, 


ne peut guere se melerdes affaires de Telectorat et qu'il n'y a pas ici de 
ministre hanovrien, auquel on pourrait s'adresser et faire parvenir a S. 
M. tout ce qu'il est important qu'elle sache. Je vois d'ici votre 
etonnement et je crois entendre, que vous me dites: Mais si on se 
plaignait a mylord Grenville au sujet de quelque conduite de la Saxe ou 
de la Baviere, est ce qu' il ne ferait pas un rapport au roi sur ces 
plaintes? Pourquoi done refuserait-il de presenter a S. M. celles qu' on 
fait contre la regence de Hanovre et son ministre a Ratisbonne? Votre 
observation est tres juste, m — r le comte, mais souvenez vous, que 
I'electeur palatin et celui de Saxe etc. ne sont pas jaloux de faire 
leurs affaires avec le ministre britannique et que la regence de Hanovre 
Test tres fort et qu'elle a eu ses bonnes raisons d'etablir un systeme 
dont elle abuse si cruellement, et qu'enfin mylord Grenville se mele 
d'autant moins de ces affaires qu'il craint de passer pour un ministre 
que veut empieter sur un departement dont lui et tous ses predecesseurs 
ont ete toujours ecartes. A peine osera-t-il presenter les papiers 
contenant les plaintes, et certainement il pourra se permettre tres peu 
d'observations verbales sur leur contenu. Malgre tout cela on doit 
etre persuade que S. M. le roi, qui est la probite meme et qui est un 
allie constant et zele, ne manquera pas, des qu'il en sera informe de 
desavouer son coupable ministre a Ratisbonne. Je vois que ce mon- 
sieur est governe par le comte de Goertz. II est en bonnes mains. J'ai 
connu ce comte de Goertz pendant cinq ans que je I'ai vu ministre de 
Prusse en Russie : c'est I'intrigant le plus fieffe et le plus impudent que 
la diplomatic prussienne ait employe dans les affaires. II est tel que les 
Lucchesini et leur pareils sont des Catons et des Aristides en com- 
paraison de lui . • . C'etait lui I'instigateur de la neutraiite armee.^ 
II etait tout devoue a la France et c'est le plus dangereux des intrigants." 

^ Cf. Bergbohm, Die bewaffnete Neutralitat 1780-83 (Berlin, 1884), pp. (r-'j. 


The Treaty of Basel and the Beginnings of 
Prussian Neutrality 

When any power is without the force that would jus- 
tify its taking the initiative and developing an independ- 
ent policy, it must submit to the humble role of follow- 
ing that line of action which its neighbors or its allies 
indicate to it. It was such a position of subordination 
that the electorate of Hanover was obliged to occupy 
throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century. 
The transfer of its ruling house to the English throne 
had given the Electorate a certain prestige in Germany, 
particularly during the first half of the century, when the 
first two Georges were using their influence to determine 
English policy according to Hanoverian interests. But 
the countervailing disadvantages, some of which have 
been mentioned, had left Hanover in the equivocal posi- 
tion of a middle power in the hierarchy of German states. 
On the one side its advice was sought and its views con- 
sidered by minor states like Brunswick, Hildesheim and 
Miinster. On the other and above it in power and influ- 
ence, stood Prussia, whose territory enclaved the leader- 
less Hanover on three sides. It was by virtue of the 
situation thus created that any attempt to treat Han- 
overian policy leads ultimately to a study of Prussian 
policy. As a result of this fact the fate of the Electorate 
when threatened by the tide of French invasion in the 
spring of 1795 was determined by the course of its most 
491] S3 


powerful neighbor, Prussia, rather than by any action, 
diplomatic or military, taken by the Hanoverian Re- 
gency. It is then towards Berlin that we must turn for 
an answer to the question, how Hanover is to be saved 
from a French invasion. 

After some two years of crusading against the forces 
of revolutionary France, Frederick William H. of Prussia 
found himself in the fall of 1794 with a depleted treasury "= 
and an army whose military fame had not been materially 
enhanced by the indecisive campaigns on the Rhine. ^ His 
allies, Russia, England and Austria, had developed interests 
foreign to the original purposes of the alliance. ^ Particu- 
larly disquieting to the Prussian statesmen was the evi- 
dent desire of Austria and Russia to push Prussia into 
the western complications in order that they might have 
a free hand in the matter of partitioning Poland.^ Eng- 
land, dissatisfied with the tactics of the Prussian general, 
Mollendorf, and unable to arrange for the control of the 
army he commanded, had refused in October, 1794, to 
continue the payment of subsidies, ^ a serious matter when 

^ Malmesbury, Diaries and Correspondence , iii, 21, 31, 43. 
' Cf. Hausser, Deutsche Geschichte, ii, 3, for the unsatisfactory re- 
sults of a campaign in which Prussia had met with no striking reverses. 

•■ Ranke, Denkwurdigkeiten des Staatskanzlers FUrsten von Harden- 
berg, etc. [BerHn, 1877], vol. i, 253. 

*Smitt's Suworow, ii, 359. Quoted by Hausser, i, 321. See also 
Herrmann, Gesch. d. russischen Staates, Ergdnzungsband, 509, 510. 

^The subsidy treaty with the English had been signed at the Hague, 
April 19, 1794. Gen. Moellendorf had been opposed to the treaty, and 
interpreted some its equivocal phrases to suit himself. This so disgusted 
Pitt that he authorized Lord Malmesbury to discontinue the payment of 
subsidies, Oct. 11, 1794. Moellendorf 's part in the preliminaries of the 
treaty of Basel illustrates a remark of the day that Prussia was not so 
much a country with an army as an army with a country. For a copy 
of the subsidy treaty with the English, see Martens, Recn^eil, etc., v, 
283. For an account of the negotiations, quarrels and abrogation, see 

493] ^-^-^ TREATY OF BASEL ^^ 

the exhausted condition of Prussia's treasury is consid- 
ered. I say the exhaustion of the treasury, for it seems, 
when viewed in the Hght of the tribute money which 
Prussia was able to pay after Jena, that it was not so 
much a bankruptcy of resources ^ as it was a bankruptcy 
of the statesmanship necessary to make the resources 
available ^ which caused contemporary writers to explain 
the treaty of Basel by Prussia's financial weakness. ^ The 
importance of Prussia's financial condition in 1 794-1 795 
is a derived importance. Its significance lies in its con- 
junction with the difBculties created for Prussia by Cath- 
rine of Russia's designs on Poland. So tremendous is 
the significance which the wars against revolutionary 
France attained later that it is difiicult for us to compre- 
hend how, in the years between 1792 and 1795, European 
statesmen could have been concerned with any other in- 

Malmesbury's despatches in the Eng, Rec. Office, Prussia F. O., Nos. 
31-33. The material in Malmesbury, Diaries and Correspondence , iii, 
1-148, is drawn from these archives. For the attitude of the Prussian 
army, see Kaulek, Papiers de BartMleniy, v, 114, and Ranke, Harden- 
berg, i, 258. 

^ Lord Malmesbury writes Oct. 19, 1794, "Germany (is) vastly rich 
— equal in men and money to France," Diaries and Correspondence, iii, 

* See article on the Prussian minister of finance, Struensee, in the 
Allgemeine Deutsche Biographic. Also Sybel, Gesch. der Revolutions- 
zeit (fourth edition) , and Bailleu in his introduction to volume viii of 
the Publicationen aus den K. Preussischen Staatsarchiven : Preussen 
und Frankreich von 1795 bis 1807, p. xxii. The article by Dr. Bailleu 
in the Hist. Zeit., vol. 75. p. 237, aims to lay stress on the financial 
causes of Prussia's peace policy, but leaves the reader with the clear 
impression that the fundamental thing was the weakness of the ministry, 

^ Cf. for example, Alvensleben's memorial of Feb. 21, 1796, in Bailleu, 
i, 49-51; report of Caillard, French envoy in Berlin, May 31, 1796, 
Bailleu, i, 443, and Lucchesini in his History of the Causes and Effects 
of the Confederation of the Rhine, translated by J. D. Dwyer (London, 
1821), p. ID. 


ternational interest; yet it is true of Frederick William 
and his advisers that their eyes were directed toward 
Poland and the security of Prussia's territorial interests 
there, until the treaty of Basel and the events following 
it determined that Prussia was to be a power in west 
Germany. Rose diagnoses the case correctly when he 
says, ''Poland was now, as ever, the ulcer that ate into 
the vitals of the First Coalition."^ The situation and in- 
terests of the King of Prussia were such that he could 
ill afford to divide his military strength, nor could he 
support two imposing armies — one on the Rhine, where 
the First Coalition was facing France, and one on the 
Vistula, where Austria and Russia were threatening Prus- 
sian interests in Poland. 

The change of policy through which Prussia broke 
away from the First Coalition and resumed friendly rela- 
tions with the French Republic, has too often been 
treated by historians without due regard to the peculiar 
conjunction of domestic and foreign difificulties which 
Prussia faced in the fall of 1794. The tendency has been 
to present the treaty of Basel as a diplomatic revo- 
lution, and a base betrayal of its allies by Prussia. 
The general view of the treaty of Basel is vigorously 
expressed by Treitschke, ''It was, despite all reasons of 
necessity which explain or excuse it, the greatest politi- 
cal mistake of our modern history — a betrayal of itself 
for which the Prussian state atoned bitterly through two 
decades of deprivation and dishonor, and by unexampled 
struggles and sacrifices." It is the service of Bailleu,^ a 

^ The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era, p. 90. 

'Bailleu, Preussen u. Frankreich, 1795-1807 {Pub. aus den preuss, 
Archiven) and Hist. Zeit., 1895. Jahresberichte der Geschichtswis- 
senschaft, vol. ii, for summary of these contributions. 


Prussian, and Sorel/ a Frenchman, developing the view 
of Ranke,^ to have emphasized in contradistinction to 
Schlosser, Sybel, Hiiffer and Hausser, the view that the 
participation of Prussia in the war of the First Coalition 
against France did not correspond to the interests of the 
national Prussian policy, and that the treaty of Basel in- 
dicates a return to that policy. Consequently in becom- 
ing reconciled, Prussia and France obeyed their old tradi- 
tions. Prussia, viewing things as they were at the time 
of the treaty of Basel, was justified in thinking the mod- 
erate policy would triumph in France and be satisfied 
with Belgium, Luxemburg and Savoy, and that Prussia 
needed her strength to face the powers beyond the 
Danube and the Vistula rather than those of the Seine. 

The peace movement resulting in the treaty of Basel 
is too often made local to Prussia. ^ It is represented 
that the other members of the empire heard with surprise 
and dismay of the withdrawal of Prussia and its addi- 
tional perfidy in establishing a Demarcation Line which 
hemmed in the military activity of many of them. A 
sifting out of the great amount of chaff in the reports 
from the Imperial Diet at Regensburg leaves enough 
evidence to show that the desire for peace was strong 
throughout the Empire.^ The interests of the Empire 

^Sorel, V Europe et la Revolution frangaise, vol. iv, and Rev. Hist., 
vols, v-vii. 

'Ranke, Hardenberg und die Gesch. des preuss. Staates v. 1793-1813, 
vol. i, 217, for instances. 

^ See Hohenzollern Jahrbuch for 1897, containing a most illuminative 
article by Bailleu, " Vor Hundert Jahren," in which the period is more 
correctly interpreted. 

* Bourgoing, Hist, diplomatique de la Revolution, vol. iv, 42 et. seq. 
Sybel, Gesch. d. Revolutionszeit, vol. iii, 356. Vivenot, ii, ch. 2. 
Papiers du Barthilemy, v. 114. Pol. Korrespondenz Karl Friederichs 
von Baden, ii, 517. 


were clearly not bound up in a crusade on behalf of the 
rights of a few members on the left bank of the Rhine. 
The participation of the Empire — this the Diet argued in 
extenso later — was a matter of self-defense made necessary 
by the disposition of the armies of the allies.' 

The pacific disposition, as well as administrative inefE- 
x:iency, of the smaller members of the Empire is shown 
by the reluctance with which the war policy of Austria 
was supported by the Diet at Regensburg.' The demand 
for a levy en masse made in Germany in 1794, though it 
became a law of the Empire in May of the same year, had 
produced no effect. The Emperor had asked for a hun- 
dred Roman months {Rd7nermonate) , the Diet had voted 
but fifty. The reports of Hanover's delegate. Baron Omp- 
teda, show that this tax brought but little into the Im- 
perial treasury. Ompteda's reports from 1 794-1801 are 
generally arranged under the rubrics '* Reichs Krieg 
gegen Frankreich " or " Reichsfrieden mit Frankreich." 
The burden of the reports touching the subject of the 
war against France is the failure of the members of the 
Empire to furnish their troops or pay their financial ob- 

The alliance of Prussia and Austria against revolution- 
ary France had not diminished the rivalry of these two 
powers in the Empire. For while Austria was urging 
on the Imperial Diet at Regensburg the need of better 
armament, Frederick William II, of Prussia, was receiv- 
ing appeals from smaller principalities who were clamor- 

^ Hausser, i, 542. Reports of Baron Reden, the Hanoverian delegate 
at the Congress of Rastatt, 1797-99, in Cal. Br. Des. ii^ E. I. No. 67 
{Hanover Archives^ . 

^See the complaints of Thugut (Aug., 1794) in Vivenot, Quellen zur 
Geschichte der Politik Oesterreichs, vol. ii, and same the editor's: Vert- 
rauliche Briefe des Freiherrn von Thugut. 


ing for the mediation of Prussia.' Many of these appeals 
were the work of agents of the Prussian cabinet present 
at the smaller courts — the king indeed had not gone so 
far'' and he was yielding but gradually to the peace idea. 
The peace movement dates back as early as 1793,^ but 
nothing definite came of the earlier efforts. Later, in 
June of 1794, Moellendorf, the Prussian commander on 
the Rhine, had made secret and unauthorized overtures 
looking toward peace. Some time after this, at the in- 
stance of Frederick William II, Moellendorf had sought to 
interest the elector of Mainz in the creation of a peace 
movement at Regensburg.^ The selection was a good one, 
for the elector of Mainz had been one of the chief suf- 
ferers from the disastrous war, and this, together with 
the fact that his was a leading position in the electoral 
college, made him a most excellent mouthpiece of the 
peace party.^ 

^Dispatch of Ompteda, Sept. 16, 1794, Cal. Br. Arch. Des. 24 Bran- 
denburg-Preussen No. 546. Ompteda (who signs this report instead 
of the regular minister, Baron Lenthe) said that for some time memor- 
ials had been coming in to the King of Prussia, the main object of these 
memorials being to put the matter of concluding a peace in a favorable 
light, but, he added, they could not well be considered by the King. 

^ Ompteda as above has learned that the king had refused to receive 
any more memorials because the proposed separate negotiations were 
against his conviction with the sea powers. The general desire for 
peace in Berlin itself is seen by the credence gained by the report of 
special Prussian-French treaty signed at Basel in Oct., 1794. Despatch 
of Lenthe from Berlin, Nov. 4, 1794. 

^D'fisebeck, Minister of Zweibriicken, was negotiating as early as 
June, 1793. Sec. A, III, 76 Archives Nationales, Paris. This refer- 
ence is a note made by Dr. Sidney B. Fay, of Dartmouth, during his 
researches in Paris. 

* Sorel in Rev. Hist., v, pp. 299, 303, and Sybel in vol. iii of his Gesch. 
d. Revolutionszeit . , is authority for the same view. 

^The influence of Denmark and Sweden exerted through Baron Die- 


On October 24/ 1794, the delegate for Mainz, Freiherr 
von Strauss,^ proposed a peace of the Empire with France 
to be effected through the mediation of either Sweden 
or Denmark, whose position as members of the Empire 
and as neutrals seemed to fit them especially for the task.^ 

The peace proposal was no surprise, for the intention 
of Freiherr von Strauss had been well known for some 
time. Ompteda, in assuring his superiors of what was 
coming, had told them that under the circumstances the 
peace proposal would be favorably received in Regens- 
burg, especially by the ecclesiastical members of the Em- 
pire. The Hanoverian ministry wrote King George that 
the Pfalz and Saxony were going to support the peace. 
Wasted territory and depleted finances would justify 
other temporal states in joining the movement.'^ In the 
absence of a measurable public opinion in the Germany 

den may be suspected. {F. O., Prussia, No. 34, Mahnesbury , Oct. 20, 
1794, Eng. Record Office.) Report of an interview with co-adjutor Arch- 
bishop, Baron d' Albert, who has been told by Barthelemy that in any 
peace, the Rhine must remain the French frontier. This the co-adjutor 
does not tell the Archbishop-Elector as it would delay peace. 

^ Hausser i, 582, gives Oct. 20. For mention of Mainz as leader of 
the Prussian party at Regensburg, see Barthelemy, v, 250, 261-262. 

'^HiifYer, Diplomatische Verhandlungen , i, no. 

'Report of Regency to King on Oct. 24, 1794, Cal.-Br. Bes. 11, E. I, 
No. 1121. 

* Report of Regency to King George, Oct. 24, 1794. The ministers 
add that the thing which is gaining currency for the proposition of 
Kurmainz is the idea that the Vienna court is back of it. This rather 
looks as though the smaller powers were glad to seek the cover of any 
excuse offered, for the report might have been the work of Prussian 
emissaries. This report of the Regency summarizes what Ompteda had 
reported to them. Dec. 16, 1794, Hardenberg reports from Vienna 
that Prussian agents are busy spreading the report that Thugut has sent 
an agent to Basel (his secretary, Bellain) to conclude a separate peace 
for Austria. Cal. Br. Arch. Des 24, Brand. -Preuss., No. 546. 

499] ^^^ TREATY OF BASEL 5l 

of that time' we must take the utterances of the putter- 
ing diet at Regensburg as one main gauge of the politi- 
cal thinking of the Empire, and certainly at Regensburg 
a peace policy — whether Prussian or Imperial — found 
much support. 

The negotiations of Prussia at Basel had been opened 
under the guise of an exchange of prisoners.'' Moellen- 
dorf and the peace party had gained the consent of Fred- 
erick William II to that form of action, and Basel had 
been selected because of the presence there of Barthel- 
emy, a skillful French diplomat of the old school. But 
the earlier Prussian agents, Schmerz, a wine-dealer of 
Kreuznach, and Meyerinck, an adjutant of Moellendorf's, 
had materially injured Prussia's cause by making plain 
to the French the division in the camp of the allies. ^ 

Despite such blunders in the early negotiations the 
peace party remained in the ascendant, and in Decem- 
ber, Count Goltz, the former Prussian ambassador at 

^ On the creation of a nascent public opinion in North Germany by 
the French Revolution and the publications of Schlozer see Weiland, 
Festrede an d. Georg. Augustus Universitdt (Gottingen) den 4. Juni, 

^v. Lenthe's despatches of Nov. 18 and Dec. 6, 1794, report the send- 
ing of Major Meyerinck to Basel to negotiate an exchange of prisoners, 
but as, according to v. Lenthe, that was already well settled, the real ob- 
ject of the mission, he concluded, was to find out on what condition 
France would make peace. Cal. Br. Arch. Des. 24, Brandenburg- 
Preuss . , 546 . ( Hanover. ) 

Moellendorf¥ had secretly opened communications with Barthelemy 
in opposition to King Frederick William II's wish. Cf. Sorel in the 
Rev. Hist., V, 284, and Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 223. Bailleu in the 
Hist. Zeit., 1895, p. 245 et seq. One is reminded of von Berenhorst's 
remark made ten years later: " Preussen ist nicht ein Land, das eine 
Armee hat, sondern eine Armee, die ein Land hat." Quoted by 
Havemann, Gesch. Hannover, p. 38. 

' For an account of the influences leading Frederick William to open 
negotiations, see Bailleu, sup. cit. 


Paris, was sent to Basel. His instructions, dated Dec. 
7, 1794, had been prepared from a draft made by 
the uncle of the king, Prince Henry.' They directed 
Count Goltz to secure a cessation of hostilities, and 
promise a recognition of the Republic, but not an active 
alliance. Prussia desired the evacuation of its provinces 
on the left bank of the Rhine, and the granting of neu- 
trality and an armistice to the German princes who 
should come under the aegis of Prussia. Further the 
king wished to play the role of mediator of an Imperial 
peace if the French were favorably inclined— indeed, he 
was willing to put his services as mediator at the dis- 
posal of Austria, England, Spain and Sardinia. Prussia 
would acquiesce in yielding Belgium to France and as- 
signing Salzburg to Austria as a recompense. On the 
suggestion of Haugwitz, as mediator, it was decided to 
await the action of France before they determined to 
cede the left bank of the Rhine. "" 

Goltz arrived in Basel December 28th, 3 and from then 
until his death, February 6, 1795, carried on the negotia- 
tions with Barthelemy.^ Encouraged by the success of 
their arms in Holland, the French were able to meet 
with firmness the Prussian demands outlined above. 
They would not hear of a cessation of hostilities, and 
demanded the active alliance of Prussia with the French 
Republic. Matters moved but slowly, and so new instruc- 

' The political activity of this prince, a brother of Frederick the Great, 
has just been made the basis of a work to which I have not had access, 
i. e., R. Krauel, Prinz Heinrich von Preussen als Politiker (Berlin, 
1902) . 

^ Hiififer, Dipiomatische Verhandlungen, i, 112, 113. 

^ Papier s de Barthilemy, iv, 515. 

* Harnier, a Prussian agent, had been sent to Paris to negotiate there 
in order to hasten matters. Cf. Ranke, Complete Works, vol. xlvi, p. 


tions were sent Count Goltz on January 28, 1795/ The 
chief point in the new instructions was the embodiment of 
Haugwitz's suggestion that the cession of the left bank 
of the Rhine on which France insisted be postponed to 
a general convention between France and the Empire.'' 
This, in view of the news just brought by Harnier direct 
from Paris as to the firmness of the Committee of Public 
Safety, was approved by Haugwitz's colleagues, Fincken- 
stein and Alvensleben.^ Haugwitz's plan was in the 
nature of a compromise, for Alvensleben desired the con- 
tinuation of the war.'^ Haugwitz's compromise covered 
the ideas of the king in the matter and so was embodied 
in the new instructions. 

Barthelemy did not arrive in Basel until January 12, 
1795. Full powers were exchanged on January 26, but 
negotiations were delayed by the illness of Goltz and 
their conclusion postponed by the death of the Prussian 
negotiator on the night of February 5 and 6. Count 
Hardenberg, who succeeded Count Goltz, arrived on 
March iSth.s 

Many and various are the motives which have influ- 
enced the negotiators thus far, and this complication of 

^Sybel, Gesch. d. Rev., iii, 2)^^ (4th edition). 

'■^Sorel, V Europe et la Revolution frangaise, iv, 253, 254. 

^ One needs to bear in mind the peculiar organization of the Prussian 
Ministry for Foreign Affairs. There were three men, all dealing with 
foreign affairs, and each directly responsible to the king. Cf. Tuttle's 
Hist, of Prussia, ii, 113, or Hiiffer, Die Kabinetsregierung in Preussen 
und J. W. Lombard (Leipzig, 1891). 

* Hiiffer: Dipiomatische Verhandlungen , i, 114. Bailleu, Hist. Zeit., 
1895, 238, says he agreed essentially with Alvensleben. 

° Despatch from Hiniiber dated March 20. The despatch puts the first 
meeting of the diplomats on the 19th at a social function given by a 
third party. Hiniiber was present and anxious to obtain a private inter- 
view with Hardenberg, but was unable to do it in the presence of the 
company owing to Hardenberg' s deafness. 


interests will continue to control their policies through- 
out the period of treaty-making at Basel. The desire in 
the Empire for peace, the division between the allies, 
Austria and Prussia, the ambition of Frederick William 
II to figure as the mediator of an Imperial peace, 
the empty Prussian treasury, the desire of the French 
to break the coalition against them, to gain the Rhine 
boundary and establish peace, to restore commerce 
with the Hansa cities and strike England through 
Hanover, the need of devising something as a salve 
to Prussia for the humiliation of yielding her own pos- 
sessions beyond the Rhine, something that would pres- 
ent her to the Empire as its pacifier and not its de- 
stroyer, the practical necessity of definiteness in the 
terms by which the German states were to be neutralized, 
the remnants of the feeling expressed in the Furstenbund 
— all these circumstances and motives go to explain the 
acts and policies with which this chapter deals. ^ 

With the appearance of Hardenberg as Prussia's nego- 
tiator we are able to take up the genesis of the idea of 
neutralization of north Germany and the establishment 
of a demarcation line. This is the important phase of 
the treaty of Basel from the Hanoverian point of viev/. 

The first instructions of Goltz'' of December 8, 1794, 

Won Colin, Vertraute Briefe uber die inneren Verhaltnisse am 
preussischen Hofe seit dem Tode Friederichs des Grossen, (Amsterdam 
and Cologne, 1807), vol. i, p. no, gives the following explanation: 
** Das ungliickliche Neutralitatsystem ist die Frucht der Eifersucht 
zwischen dem Adel und dem dritten Stand. Jener wiinschte theils aus 
Personlichkeit, theils weil er seine rohen Producte an die Englander 
verkauft, einen Krieg gegen Frankreich, dieser aus der industriosen 
und literarischen Classe bestehend, wiinschte eine Alliance mit Frank- 
reich, die Regierung stets von beiden Parteyen angegangen, schlagt 
den Mittelweg ein, und bleibt neutral." 

^ See Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 228 ff. and Hausser, i, 586-587. The 
summary given by Sorel in the Rev. Hist., vi, 228, follows the above 

503] ^-^-^ TREATY OF BASEL 5^ 

had included as one of the principal objects of his nego- 
tiations securing the consent of France to the mediation 
of the king of Prussia for such other members of the 
Empire as should desire to make peace with France in 
this way. To these principalities, such as Franconia, the 
Upper Rhine Circle, Hesse, Trier, Zweibriicken, etc., 
amnesty and neutrality were to be granted until the con- 
clusion of the peace. The assumption was that the 
French would not be opposed to any movement by which 
the states of the Empire came to look to Prussia as their 
protector. It gave expression to Frederick William IFs 
favorite idea of effecting through his mediation a peace 
for the Empire.^ But the hopes of the king were shat- 
tered by the firmness with which the French opposed 
mediation; the Committee of Public Safety preferred to 
deal directly with the individual members of the Empire 
and refused to consider an armistice.^ Moreover, the 
Committee, supported by the victories in Holland, and 
secure in the feeling that the pressure for peace was strong 
enough in the Empire to secure their dem-ands,^ sent 
Harnier back with that answer, and they insisted further 

works. Haugwitz's deception of the English regarding the object of 
Count Goltz's mission is revealed in his declaration to Lord Spencer 
that " the business had been undertaken with the Emperor in conse- 
quence of the requisition of the Germanic body. . . . He assured me 
. . . that Goltz's instructions were confined to the inquiry how far it 
might be practicable to obtain an armistice for the Empire which might 
eventually bring about a general pacification." Lord Spencer (from 
Berlin), Jan. 10, 1795. Auckland Papers, vol. Ix. {British Mtiseum, 
Additional Mss.). 

^See Art. 2 of the instructions to Goltz in Kaulek, Papiers de 
BarthSlemy, iv, 582. 

'■^This was the reply both to Harnier {Cf. Ranke as below) and to 
Goltz, Papiers de BarthHemy, iv, 578, 580. 

^ Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 234. 


that the Rhine must be France's boundary. Barthelemyy 
on January 24th, gave Goltz essentially the same reply. 
Goltz was told that France would be glad to treat for 
peace with the several states of the Empire alone, or in 
conjunction with Prussia/ Mediation by Prussia seemed 
to have received its quietus. 

The second set of instructions for Goltz, dated January 
26, are not to my knowledge in print."" We are assured 
that they yielded on the point of the armistice, and, as 
stated, postponed the question of ceding the left bank of 
the Rhine until a general pacification of France and the 
Empire should decide the matter. Mediation and neu- 
tralization seem also to have remained in abeyance until 
Hardenberg's appearance as Prussia's envoy. 

Goltz on his way south had stopped to talk with Har- 
denberg, and the latter soon after sent to Frederick 
William a memorial containing his views on the peace. 
This interesting paper from the ex-Hanoverian is printed 
in the memoirs of that officious disciple of *'the divine 
Machiavelli," Colonel von Massenbach.3 

The paper is dated January 13, 1795, from Frankfort 
on the Main. After a sweeping review of the European 
situation as a necessary preliminary to determining the 
best policy for Prussia, Hardenberg concludes that the 
country needs a peace which does not involve the danger 
of a still more disadvantageous war in the immediate 
future. After considering the possible lines of action 

^ ** M. de Goltz a paru cliarme de cette declaration puis qu'elle laisse 
a sa Cour quelque moyens de jouer un role aupres de ses Co-etats." 
Barthelemy to the Com. of Pub. Safety, January 24, 1795. Barthelemy, 
iv, 580. 

2 They are summarized in Sybel, iii, p. z$2>- Dated Jan. 28. 

^See Massenbach, Memoiren zur Geschichte des preuss. Staates unter 
den Regierungen Frederick Wilhelm II. , and Friedrich Wilhelm III. , 
vol. ii, appendix ii. (Amsterdam, 1809.) 

^05 J ^^^ TREATY OF BASEL 67 

with peace in view, he discards the idea of an alliance 
with France as ** faithless, dishonorable and unpolitic." 
A second possible policy, and the one preferred by 
Hardenberg, would be for Prussia to secure neutrality 
for itself and the members of the Empire who have 
appealed to it, and to do this without alienating the 
allies, especially Russia, in Polish matters. This means 
that France must be willing to give up the idea of the 
Rhine as a boundary, and that Prussia could explain to 
its allies its reasons for seeking peace. If, says Harden- 
berg, Prussia withdraws without an understanding with 
Russia or the Empire, she is making a most daring 

Suppose, however, that neutrality is established in the 
way mentioned above, how is it to be maintained ? If Aus- 
tria continues the war, Prussia cannot permit violations 
of its neutrality by the passage through the neutralized 
territory of the troops of either belligerent. The best 
means of maintaining the established neutrality would 
be by Armies of Observation, each to be supported by 
France and Prussia on their respective boundaries. The 
Prussian corps ought to consist of from 18,000 to 20,- 
000 men, including the quotas of the other states de- 
clared neutral, in which category Hardenberg names 
Saxony, Mainz, Trier, Hessen, Baden and Wiirtemburg. 
Prussia ought further to put a corps in Westphalia and 
in Frankenland, and then withdraw the rest of its army 
within its own boundaries. 

As the third case to be considered, Hardenberg names 
the continuation of the war. If this contingency arises 
the war must be defensive.^ 

These ideas evidently met the general approval of 

^ This brief summary is based on the text of the memoirs given by 
Massenbach, vol. ii, appendix xi. 


King Frederick William 11. , for their propounder was 
commissioned as Goltz's successor. With the appear- 
ance of Hardenberg as negotiator, the subject of the 
neutrality of North Germany, denned and defended by a 
demarcation line, becomes one of the leading subjects for 

At the very first meeting with Barthelemy on March 
19,^ Hardenberg proposes "as an object of mutual benefit 
to neutralize de ce cdt^ la the north of Germany," ^ its 
tranquillity to be maintained by a cordon concerted with 
France. This, he urged, would be an advantage for 
France, for it would allow her to turn her arms against 
Austria. Barthelemy's cautious reply was that the system 
of neutrality would not, in general, be accepted by France, 
and could not be a point in the pacification. It might, 
however, be a subject of arrangement between the re- 
spective generals.* On March 22, Barthelemy transmits 

* It was one of the three main points in his instructions. Cf. Bour- 
going, sup. cit., 161, 162. Hausser says the Demarcation Line was the 
only point Haugwitz was willing to make a stand for. Deutsch, Gesch., 
i*, 594. Hardenberg was verbally instructed to promise that Prussia 
would take Hanover en depdt if France desired it. See letter of king to 
Hardenberg. Barthelemy, v, 149. 

"Barthelemy, v, 116 et seq. Bourgoing misreads the despatch and 
gives March 20. Vivenot in his Herzog Albrecht v. Sachsen-Teschen, ii, 
140, prints Hardenberg's arrival March 8, 1795, ten days too early. 

*Papiers de Barthilemy, v. 117. Hardenberg' s instructions were to 
present this matter which had already been suggested by Moellendorf, 
and was an idea which Harnier and Barthelemy had discussed. Rev. 
Hist., vii, 319. (Summary of H.'s instructions.) 

* Concerning the nature of Moellendorf 's proposition see Barthelemy, 
V, 108. On March 18, Moellendorf wrote the French General Jordan 
that he (M.) would have his troops scrupulously observe the terms of the 
negotiation at Basel and expected the same from the French * ' En con- 
sequence je vous avertis, Monsieur le general, que le but de la marche 
de I'armee prussienne dans ces contrees est d' eloigner les troupes 
etrangeres des Etats du roi et de tirer ensuite la ligne de demarcation 

207] ^-^^ TREATY OF BASEL 5g 

to the Committee of Public Safety the outline of Harden- 
berg's plan of neutralization/ The English troops in the 
Lower Rhine region were to be embarked for home, the 
Hanoverian forces to be confined within their own boun- 
daries. The encampment of Moellendorff's soldiers and 
those of the French were fixed, and the following terri- 
tory was to be neutralized : The Rhine from the Wesel 
to mouth of the Lahn opposite Coblenz ; a diagonal to 
be drawn from there to Frankfort ; the line to run from 
that city to the principalities of Darmstadt and Fran- 
conia, which were to be included in neutral territory. 
All the German states in this line, particularly the land- 
grave of Hesse-Cassel, were to withdraw their troops 
from the imperial army. Every facility would be given 
the French army for prosecuting its siege of Mainz. 
Barthelemy's reply was that he could not conclude the 
matter without instructions from Paris or information 
from the French generals ; that such a proposition was 
new matter introduced with a view to delaying the nego- 
tiations.^ His objection was that Prussia had proposed 

designee et convenue deja en general a Bale, mais dont il nous reste 
encore a convenir ensemble des details." (See Barthelemy, v, 123.) 
This, it will be noticed, was on the day before Hardenberg's first con- 
ference with Barthelemy. France had already shown a willingness to 
confer with Moellendorf, Barthelemy, v, 127, et seq. 

^ When Hardenberg outlined his proposals for neutralization, he was 
told by Bacher that Moellendorf had proposed a project of neutralization 
much like Hardenberg's, and that it was considered by the French as a 
matter to be arranged by the generals. Hardenberg spoke cavalierly of 
the general and his project. The proposals his government had ordered 
him (Hardenberg) to make had nothing in common with M.'s plan he 
said. Barthelemy, v, 128. 

^ Sybel says that Barthelemy proposed a demarcation line as a good 
way for avoiding friction betvvreen the troops. With this idea Haugwitz 
agreed. This action of Barthelemy's, Sybel places in the period be- 
tween the death of Goltz and the arrival of Hardenberg. See Sybel, 


it as an indispensable article just as they were about to 
sign, and it appeared to him that such an arrangement 
would be more acceptable after the treaty had been con- 
cluded. Hardenberg replied that he must insist upon 
such an article as part of the treaty, and that it had been 
an essential part of the instructions of his predecessor, 
Goltz, to insist upon this point/ 

Barthelemy was surprised, vexed, suspicious. In view 
of Goltz's failure to insist upon any demarcation line, he 
was inclined to consider it a move made by Hardenberg 
on his own responsibility, and arising out of his desire 
to save his native land, Hanover. From the first Bar- 
thelemy laid emphasis on Hardenberg's birth and train- 
ing as an explanation of his interest in securing the 
neutrality of the Electorate and its neighbors.' There 
was much to justify such a view of the Prussian envoy's 
conduct, but the situation was too serious, the import 
of the policy of neutralized North Germany too far- 
reaching, to justify referring it to the particularistic spirit 
of an agent. Certainly Hardenberg, whatever may have 
been his motives, was almost suspiciously frank in avow- 
ing himself a Hanoverian. In an interview with Bacher, 

Gesch. d. Revolutionszeit , iii, 370 (4th ed.). The evidence of the 
Barthelemy papers is all against this statement. Barthelemy's project 
of a treaty in the first part of March has no such plan. Barthelemy, v, 
102; see also Barthelemy, v, 117. Thugut, in a letter to Starhem- 
burg, the Austrian ambassador in London, July 11, 1795, says : " Depuis 
est survenue la ligne de demarcation prussienne que la cour de Berlin 
afifirme d'avoir ete provoque par une note de la Regence d'Hanover 
en date du 2 de mars." Vivenot-Zeissberg, Quellen zur Gesch. d. 
Politik., iii. 290, 291. The idea of an armistice, as has been suggested, 
has in it the germ of a demarcation line. See Meyerinck to Bacher, 
Dec. 7, 1794, in Barthelemy, v, 30, 31. 

^Barthelemy, v, 128. 

"^ Ibid. J V, 113 (compare pp. 125, 126), 117, 118, 130, 131, 206. 

^09] ^-^-^ TREATY OF BASEL yi 

the French attache, he declared that " although he is 
serving the Prussian * * * * government, he is by no 
means Prussian, nor is he in any degree English ; but 
that he is a good German, and above all a good Han- 
overian ; that in interesting himself earnestly for the 
tranquillity of Germany, he is more particularly inter- 
ested in that of Hanover, and that he sincerely hopes 
the present situation of affairs will give the Electorate 
an almost absolute independence from England."^ 

Such open avowals, sincere as they may well have 
been, could not long have served to explain a national 
policy to such an able diplomat as Barthelemy. The 
French ambassador was not long without evidence that 
the Prussian king was decidedly in earnest in his desire 
to cover his own withdrawal by securing the neutrality 
of the North of Germany. Through the kindness of 
Hardenberg, Barthelemy was able to transmit to the 
Committee of Public Safety a copy of an important letter 
of Frederick William's dated March 24, and addressed 
to Hardenberg. The most notable passage stated the 
king's views on the subjects of neutrality and a demarca- 
tion line, which, said the king, *' I still regard as the 
most important point of all. I am resolved not to abate 
from it, and, though feeling quite sure it will meet with 
more opposition, I am far from losing faith in your 
ability to achieve success." ^ From this letter and from 
the attitude and arguments of Hardenberg, the Com- 
mittee could easily convince itself that Prussia stood 
firmly for two things, the secrecy of the cession of the 

' Barthelemy, v, 148. See Hardenberg's comments on his instruc- 
tions in Ranke, Denkwurdigkeiten Hardenbergs, i, 289. 

"^Ibid., V, 149. Barthelemy had already given the Committee his 
view, that a demarcation line was an irrevocable part of Hardenberg's 
instructions. Ibid., v, 133. 


Prussian provinces on the left bank of the Rhine, and 
the estabHshment of a demarcation line whose mainten- 
ance would create a sort of Prussian hegemony. 

The picture we get of the situation at the time of 
Prussia's negotiations at Basel, is that of King Frederick 
William II. still leaning towards the alliance against 
France, but drawn into negotiations with that power by 
his ministry and by a certain clique in the army rein- 
forced by the king's uncle, Prince Henry of Prussia.' 
The king is forced by domestic conditions and by the 
complications in Poland,^ now aggravated by the treaty 
of January 3, 1795, between Russia and Austria, to secure 
free hands to protect the interests nearest his heart, the 
acquisition of territory in Poland. To do this, he must 
pacify the French who want peace but who demand with 
it the cession of the left bank of the Rhine, hitherto an 
integral part of the Empire and a region in which 
Prussia had dependencies. In other words, Frederick 
William II. met the claim of the French for the Rhine as 

^**I1 (Harnier) rejette bien loin I'idee qu'elle puisse accepter de 
nouveau un subside anglais. II dit que dans le temps de la conclusion 
du traite de subside, il occasiona une indignation universelle a Berlin 
et a Tarmee, qu' il se forma une petite coalition contre cet arrangement, 
que le Prince Henri avec le marechal Moellendorf et quelques vieux 
generaux du feu roi, firent tout ce qu'il falloit pour empecher que les 
conditions n'en fussent remplis; qu'ils parvinrent meme a faire intriguer 
a Londres et a y inspirer une telle defiance contre le roi de Prusse, que 
le gouvernment anglais lui-meme rompit le traite en ne payant les sub- 
sides jusqu'au i^'" novembre (v. s.) tandis qu'il etoit stipule qu'ils 
servent jusqu'au i®"" decembre. II ajoute que ce precede anglais a eteun 
moyen puissant dont s'est servi le parti sage de sa cour pour animer le 
roi de Prusse contre le cabinet brittannique et qu'il n'a pas peu con- 
tribue a lui faire prendre la ferme resolution de faire la paix avec la 
France." Barthelemy to Committee of Public Safety, March 16, 1795, 
V, 114. Wollner's appeal to the King to abandon the allies is in Hist. 
Zeit., 62, 285. 

^Barthelemy, v, 18. 


a boundary with the counter-claim of a protectorate over 
those states desiring to leave .the leadership of Austria 
and conclude peace with France. If he were reproached 
for betraying the Empire by a separate peace/ and for 
violating its constitution by acquiescing in the cession of 
part of its territory, he could hush complaint by the 
gratitude of the states of the Empire already safely 
walled behind a Prussian demarcation line,^ and by be- 
ginning negotiations looking to an Imperial peace under 
the leadership of Prussia. ^ If this were accomplished, 
Frederick William could view with satisfaction his own 
part in the matter. Moreover, now that the magic word 
secularization had been spoken at Paris, "^ it looked as 
though Prussia would obtain a considerable advantage 
from the cession of her provinces beyond the Rhine for 
which an abundant recompense might be given her in 
territorial gains nearer home.^ 

What arguments and conditions could Prussia present 
which would bring the Committee of Public Safety, in 
spite of their ultimatum of March lo,^ to accept the 

^King Frederick William's reluctance to be a despoiler of the Empire 
finds frequent expression in Hardenberg's representations, see e. g., 
Barthelemy, v, 170. 

^ Barthelemy v, 130, 261, Vivenot-Zeissberg, Quellen zur Gesch. d. 
Politik Oesterreichs , iii, 326. 

•^ Moellendorf writing in November of 1794 says most of the states 
of the Empire, even whole circles, have claimed the mediation of 
Prussia without waiting the action of the Diet. Barthelemy, v, 17. 

* French reply to Harnier in January, 1795, Bourgoing, sup. cit. 133. 

^This view of the inseparability in the Prussian plan of balancing 
their blow at the Empire, with which Austria could indict them, by a 
demarcation line that gave Prussia a better place in the Empire and a 
claim on the gratitude of the states benefited, is presented quite clearly 
in Hardenberg's interview with Barthelemy March 25, see Barthelemy, 
V, 13C-133. It is essential to an understanding of King Frederick Wil- 
liam's position. 

^Barthelemy, v, 106, iii. 


policy proposed by Hardenberg, that is, the policy of a 
neutral North Germany? 

A glance at the military situation in the early spring 
of 1795 shows a French army so disposed as to invade 
Westphalia at any moment. On the other hand the 
Hanoverians were making energetic efforts to put them- 
selves in a state of defence/ and in this they had the 
assistance of English soldiers and mercenaries in an 
attempt to run a cordon from Emden to Miinster.^ 
This meant that France must maintain a large force 
here to watch the allies which it might otherwise em- 
ploy against Austria. Suppose the French troops should 
advance? Hardenberg pictured Hanover as on the 
verge of a revolution that would surely break out at 
their first approach. Such an outbreak could not but 
prove detrimental to the Republic's cause. It would be 
equally injurious to the neighboring Prussian states, to 
which it would surely spread. The king of Prussia 
could see but one thing to prevent this catastrophe, that 
was the neutralization of north Germany. 

From the political point of view, so ran Hardenberg's 
argument, France was to think what a superb role she 
would attribute to the king of Prussia and share with 
him in creating such a neutrality. It would instantly 
determine all the princes of the Empire who longed 
so much for peace ''to throw themselves into the arms 
of Prussia in order to fiad their way to the arms of 
France, and the final result of such action, isolating 
the Court of Vienna, would put it in a most em- 
barrassing position and deal it a mortal blow," ^ It 

' Lehmann, Scharnhorst, i, \(i% et seq. 
^ Barthelemy, v, 122. 

^ Ibid., V, 132. Sorel, in the Rev. Hist., vii, 333, sums up the argu- 
inents for the demarcation line as Hardenberg viewed it. 


would vsever all connections between England and Han- 
over and free France from all embarrassment from that 
side. Hardenberg solemnly assured Barthelemy that 
this separation of the Electorate from Great Britain 
would be done in a way that France could approve. 
What more could France desire on this point; for King 
Frederick William could not suppose the French wished 
to devastate Hanover and incite a revolution there; fur- 
thermore he could not permit it.^ On the demarcation 
line Hardenberg was instructed to stand firm — the alter- 
native was war — an alternative the king would regret, 
but which he would push with all necessary energy.'' 

To put Hanover behind a neutralizing demarcation 
line would allow France to kill four birds with one stone* 
It would be a blow at the reigning family of her arch- 
enemy, England, 3 then active in Hanover, and at its 
coadjutors, the Emigrants;'^ it would placate Prussia; 
it would weaken Austria; it made possible the disposal 
of the Stadtholder, to whom Hanover, when once taken 
en dkpbt by Prussia, might finally be given as an indem?? 
nification.^ Another element was the untrammeling of 

^ King Frederick William to Hardenberg, March 24. Barthelemy, v, 

^ Same to Reden, Hanoverian minister. Malmesbury, Diaries, etc., 
iii, 206. Barthelemy, v, 150, also 137. The general view has always 
been that if Hardenberg had been backed by the war alternative, he 
could have made better terms. ^ Barthelemy, v, 252. 

^ Ibid., V, 153, 154. Lehmann, Scharnhorst, i, 195. 

^ That such a plan is in the minds of the French at this time is shown 
clearly, Barthelemy, v, 205, 206, 2.2']. Prussia was suspected of having 
a similar plan now and later; Ibid., v, 153-4. The French agent in 
Bremen says: *'On croit cet arrangement d'autant plus aise que la 
nation anglais ne demanderait pas mieux que de se debarasser de cet 
electorat qui lui coute tant de sang et de tresors et qui donne toujours 
une grande importance au roi." The writer of this despatch sadly lacked 
history and humor. 


the commerce of the Hanseatic cities — a decisive motive 
now, as well as later, in determing French, Prussian, 
English and Russian policies toward north Germany/ 

Barthelemy was quick to see what Prussia was aiming 
at in the policy of neutrality, and paid Berlin statesman- 
ship the compliment of calling their plan a most skillful 
move.^ From a diplomatic neutrality on the matter, 
Barthelemy passed to the advocacy of the Prussian idea. 

The Committee of Public Safety was at first strongly 
hostile to the scheme. It would trammel all their mili- 
tary operations, and then they said, ''Where is there a 
Frenchman who would forgive them for neutralizing a state 
(Hanover) dependent upon England?" But their haste to 
close the negotiations, ^ the advantages presented by Har- 
denberg,^ the firmness of King Frederick "William in 
making this an ultimatum, as well as the course of events 
in France itself, where the struggle of factions was mak- 
ing the tenure of the Committee more and more uncer- 
tain, led them to yield, and on March 31 they instructed 
Barthelemy to agree to the Demarcation Line.^ Thus 
the treaty was signed April 5, 1795.^ 

The conclusion of the treaty met with a general favor 

^ Suggestive on this point are the references in Barthelemy, v, 132, 
195, 196, 289. Hanoverian troops had just seized Bremen and Ritze- 
biittel, Hamburg's seaport. For the proclamation of Frederick William 
II. severing the relations between Hamburg and France, see A Collec- 
tion of State Papers Relative to the War against France. London, 

^ Barthelemy, v, 134. 

'^ Ibid., V, III, 135, 182. ^ Ibid., v, 136. 

^ Ibid.. Reasons for assenting to such an extension of the Demar- 
cation Line, v, 169. Prussian point of view, same vol., 134, 147. 

^ For map of Demarcation Line cf. Vivenot, vol. ii. The area included 
in the neutral zone is, in general, that covered by the North German 
Confederation of 1866. 


in Germany — the most notable exception being the head 
of the Prussian state, who seems to have wished more or 
less openly that the negotiations would fail.^ The inter- 
est of Frederick William was not and never had been in 
the negotiations at Basel. It was the vision which the 
ministry had so skillfully placed before him, namely, that 
of playing the role of prince of the peace, which had 
induced him to send Goltz on his mission. Often, very 
often, the vision grew dim, seemed like an air-castle to 
the king.^ The clink of English gold might have dis- 
pelled the vision forever and restored the king to the 
First Coalition, but the English ministry delayed, and 
when their offer of subsidies came, it was too late.^ 

^ Paget Papers , i, pp. 71-10$ passim. 

Journals and Correspondence of Lord Auckland , iii, 299-300, London, 

^ His own phrase. See Llist. Zeit., 1895, p. 268. 

^ Never in all the weeks of the negotiations at Basel did Lord Henry- 
Spencer, the English ambassador at Berlin, despair of winning the 
Prussian king again to the allies' cause. He believed that a subsidy 
sufficient to relieve Prussia's needs would accomplish this end by^allow- 
ing Frederick William to gratify his desire to win glory at the head of 
his army on the Rhine. Of Bischoffswerder's influence Lord^ Spencer 
felt sure. It was Schulenburg and "his tribe" that he feared, On 
February 27, 1795, Spencer writes: " So great is His Prussian Majesty's 
personal eagerness to make another campaign that I believe it would be 
still possible to carry that point in opposition to Prince Henry and all 
the ministry, if I were to receive immediate instructions for that pur- 
pose." {Auckland Papers, vol. Ix.) Hope was renewed when-Hard- 
enberg was appointed. " M. de Plardenberg is, I believe, the only one 
of the King of Prussia's ministers who concurs in His Majesty's wish 
to continue the war. Pie, however, agrees in the perfectly evident 
necessity of an immediate peace if no offers of subsidy are made by 
England. . . ." (March 10.) On March 24, Spencer writes: " M. 
de Hardenberg, who still continues to entertain hopes of relief from 
England, has lengthened out his journey (so) as not to arrive at Basel 
before the 19th of this month. He will continue to observe a similar 
conduct during the first few days of the conferences, but if at the end of 


The rather hastily-concluded treaty of April 5 ' made 

that time he perceives that no offers will be made to Prussia, he will be 
obliged, both by his duty and by a sense of the distrest situation of his 
country, to think of nothing but making the best terms he can with the 
French." — Auckland Papers, Additional Mss., Brit. Museum, vol. Ix. 
This hope of delay on Hardenberg's part probably came from the 
Duke of Brunswick, who was disgruntled with the prevailing views at 
Berlin. Malmesbury, then in Hanover, writes Grenville the news of 
Hardenberg's instructions, direct from Hardenberg, "who is an open, 
communicative man." Hardenberg had stopped at Brunswick, and 
Malmesbury 's words, "direct from Hardenberg," suggest the Duke 
as the medium of communication. It is, however, Gervinus, "much 
more artful and able" than Hardenberg, who says directly that Hard- 
enberg will delay negotiations with France in the hope of an agreement 
being reached between England and Prussia. Malmesbury, March 18, 
and April 6, 1795, English Record Office, F. O. Prussia 36. The 
manoeuvres of the anti-war cabal to induce the King to conclude peace, 
and the intentions of Hardenberg to delay negotiations, show how weak 
and unsteady was the guiding hand in the Prussian state. For other 
references to Plardenberg's intentions todelay the treaty see i?^z/. //"wi^., 
vii, 321-336. 

The English ministry was finally induced to propose anew a subsidy 
treaty. On April 10, the very day when Lord Spencer is writing from 
Berlin, that on the advice of the Duke of Brunswick he is going to ap- 
proach Frederick William, even if peace is already concluded, the 
British ministry sent him a draft of a treaty that he is "without loss 
of time (to) communicate in the most secret and confidential manner 

. . to the court of Berlin." {Auckland Papers, \k, {Spencer's Letter 
Book) Brit. Museum, Additional Mss.) The step was taken too 
late. On April 12, Meyerinck arrived in Berlin with the treaty of 
Basel and its general purport was known to Spencer two days later. 

On July 8, 1795 {F. O. — Prussia, vol. xxxviii), Mr. Gray, Spencer's 
successor, wrote that the king of Prussia " would certainly have acceded 
to the proposals brought by Col. Calvert if they had come a month 

^ See Barthelemy's reply to the criticisms of the Committee of Public 
Safety, Papiers de BarthHemy, v, 182. Lord Spencer writing from 
Berlin, June 9, 1795, says: "M. de Llardenberg has assured a person 
at this place that if he had been allowed more time, he could have 
obtained infinitely more favorable terms for Prussia, even a stipulation 
in favor of Holland, but that his orders to sign the treaty without 
delay were so pressing and so constantly repeated that he could not 


mention of future arrangements as to the removal of the 
theatre of war from north Germany/ The necessities of 
the re-established freedom of commerce, and of provid- 
ing for exigencies arising under the Demarcation Line, 
made a more definite arrangement advisable.'' 

At Berlin the feeling was that Hardenberg had made 
Prussia assume too large a load of responsibility, when 
he gave the Demarcation Line such an extent and made 
Prussia responsible for the neutrality of all the states be- 
hind it. 3 The elector of Saxony had not as yet ex- 
pressed approval of the Prussian policy, or sought 
Prussian mediation. '^ If it came to a question of forcing 
him to acquiesce, in addition to taking Hanover en 
dkpdt,^ and facing possible complications arising from 
this, the treaty would furnish Prussia with anything but 
the benefits of undisturbed peace. The Berlin statesmen 
wanted such a modification of the Demarcation Line as 
would make Prussia responsible for the acquiescence to 
the treaty of Basel of a much smaller area.^ 

take it on himself to disobey them. He attributes the excessive pre- 
cipitation entirely to the haughty and menacing language of the two 
Imperial courts." Auckland Papers, vol. xl {Brit. Museum). 

^See article vii of the open treaty. De Clerq, i, 243. 

' Sorel in an article on ' 'La NeutraliUdu Nord de V Allemagne {Revue 
Hist., xvii), gives an account of the negotiations after April 5, 1795. 

•Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 298. 

*Barthelemy tells the Committee of Public Safety on May 13, that 
Hardenberg has assured him that the Elector of Saxony acquiesced in 
article HI, and had written to Vienna favoring peace. Barthelemy, 
V, 252. 

* Hardenberg had been assuring Barthelemy that Hanover would ac- 
cede to the neutrality stipulations (see Barthelemy, v, 204, 213), and 
that there was nothing to be feared from Hanover despite the disturb- 
ances at Bremen. Barthelemy, v, 184. 

^Ibid., V, 197, 203. 


The French dissatisfaction was with the fact that King 
Frederick William's promise to take Hanover en dkpbt^ 
if the French demanded it, was not made an integral 
part of the treaty. If Hardenberg was willing to give 
promises to that effect after the treaty negotiations were 
closed, why, inquired the Committee, had the clause not 
been incorporated in the instrument of peace ?^ 

Hanover was the key to the commerce of north Ger- 
many. Its location commanded the mouth of the Weser 
and Elbe, and it lay within striking distance of the course 
of the Ems. At the mouth of Weser was the Hanseatic 
city of Bremen; at the mouth of the Elbe was Hamburg; 
Liibeck, the third great Hanseatic city, lay just beyond 
Hanoverian borders. The great commercial routes from 
these cities to Cologne, to Frankfort, to Leipzig and 
southeastern Europe, passed through the electoral pos- 
sessions of George the Third.'' No wonder, then, that 
the desire to secure such commercial advantages played 
a large part in leading the French to approve King 
Frederick William's policy of neutralization. ^ The seiz- 
ure of Bremen and Hamburg by the Hanoverian troops, 
and their general activity which threatens the tranquillity 
of the north, led the Committee to appeal to Prussia to 
interfere in the purpose of keeping their ports open. To 
quote their language, "This last point is of the greatest 
importance to the republic and nothing in the world is 
more urgent."'^ 

^ Barthelemy, v, 174. King Frederick William had promised it in his 
letter of March 24, 1795. Ibid., v, 148. 

^The diplomatic notes prepared by v. der Decken in 1803 in the eflfort 
to induce Russia to interfere in Hanover's behalf against the French 
occupation, present these points elaborately and forcefully. 

■^ Barthelemy, v, 179. 

'^Ibid., V, 237. Committee to Barthelemy, May 10, 1795. 

^Iq] the treaty of BASEL gi 

Both were anxious to conclude the negotiations so 
that the treaty might be pubhshed.^ France would thus 
be assured of its commercial advantages, and Prussia 
would be able to take open measures to secure the 
acquiescence of states within the Demarcation Line, and 
thus check the agents of Austria who were busy arous- 
ing these states against Prussia and urging on them an 
Austrian alliance as the only means of safety.^ 

Despite the real desire of both parties to conclude the 
convention addittonelle, it was not signed until May I7th,3 
the delay being due to the fact that the Committee of 
Public Safety did not desire to agree to the modification 
of the Demarcation Line until it had the assurance of its 
generals that the French military operations would not 
be hampered by the new line.'^ 

^Barthelemy, v, 175, 179, 189, 209, 223, 226. The excessive haste of 
Prussia in wishing to circulate some sort of treaty is illustrated in their 
giving out a convention additionelle which had not been agreed to by 
Barthelemy. See Barthelemy, v, 241-243. A copy of the iaXs^ conven- 
tion additionelle was forwarded by von Lenthe from Berlin on May 5, 
I79S« The actual contents of the treaty of May 17th do not seem to 
have been known in Hanover until 1797. In June, of 1795, Haugwitz 
solemnly denied that there were any provisions other than those made 

'^ Barthelemy, v, 255. For Austrian anger at Prussia's action cf. p. 
215 of vol. V. Lehrbach was the Austrian agent and was not as suc- 
cessful as the allies had hoped he would be. The excuse of the states 
who turned to Prussia was that in their weakened state they could be 
no help to the Emperor and only expose themselves to further danger. 
Cf. despatch of R. Heathcote, English agent to Cologne and Cassel. 
Eng. Record Office, July 21, 1795. On Hardenberg's efforts to further 
Prussia's cause see Y'lYtnot, Albrecht v. Sachsen-Teschen, etc., ii, pt. 2, 
VIII Abschnitt. 

^ Barthelemy, v, 269. 

*The Committee's explanation of their delay is given in Barthelemy, 
V, 228, 237. The advice of Pichegru — favorable to the Demarcation Line 
(see Barthelemy, v, 239-243) — arrived too late (Barthelemy, v, 263), for 
the Committee sent their assent (Barthelemy, v, 269) without waiting 


The convention additionelle of May I7th^ consisted of 
a group of open articles and two secret articles. The. 
two new points in the open articles are the fact that the 
King of Prussia only binds himself to force neutrality on 
the states behind the demarcation line and on the right 
bank of the Main, and that four military routes from 
Frankfort to Coblenz and Cologne are specified* along 
which the French and the imperial troops could move 
through the neutral territory. The two secret articles 
relate to the electorate of Hanover and the city of Frank- 
fort. ^ By the first '^ the King of Prussia promised to 
occupy Hanover if it did not accede to the neutrality 
arranged for it. France was thus to be more effectively 
protected from all contemplated hostile enterprises of 
the Hanoverian government. 

On April 14, 1795, Hinuber, the Hanoverian agent on 
watch in Basel, arrived in Hanover with a copy of the 
treaty and secret articles of the peace signed April 5., 
Hardenberg had made the treaty known to him on the 
8th, and in a burst of pleased confidence had told 
Hinuber that '*he considered it the most fortunate 

longer (Barthelemy, v, 255). The treaty was signed as soon as the- 
approval of the Committee reached Barthelemy, May 17. 

^ See Barthelemy, v, 270-272 (inc.), or De Clerq, i, 242 et seq., for 
copy of this treaty. Historians often refer to this and the treaty o£ 
April 5th as one and the same instrument. 

'■^See Barthelemy, v, 204, 263. 

' As to the object of the article on Frankfort see Barthelemy, v, 204. 
The secret provision as to taking Hanover en dipdt was first communi- 
cated to the Regency by Ompteda in his despatch of May 12, 1799, 
\_Hanover Archives .'] 

*The article reads. '* Dans le cas que le gouvernement de Hanovre se 
refusat a la neutralite, Sa Majeste le Roi de Prusse s'engage a prendre 
I'Electorat de Hanovre en depot, afin de garantir d'autant plus efficace- 
ment la Republique frangoise de toute entreprise hostile de la part de ce 


moment of his life in that, while performing the service 
due the king he now served, he was able to follow the 
desire he always had of aiding his native land (Hanover) 
and the government he had once served." The plan of 
the treaty was his alone, as he had outlined it at his last 
visit to Berlin, and as it had been approved by the king 
and Haugwitz despite the efforts of the opposition party, 
which did not wish to give the demarcation line such an 
extent. The turn of affairs in Paris had helped him 
secure such favorable terms. ^ 

Hardenberg then allowed Hiniiber to copy the treaty 
in his (Hardenberg's) room on promise that it would be 
shown only to the Hanoverian ministry. The latter 
immediately sent a copy to King George, calling his 
especial attention to the secret articles. "" This informa- 
tion of the contents of the treaty given Hiniiber by 
Hardenberg was the first notification to the outside 
world of its contents. ^ 

^ Hiniiber's report in Cal. Br. Des. 11, E. II, no. 395. 

^Ministry to King George, April 16, 1795. Cal. Br. Des. 11, E. I, 
no. 1130. 

^ The effect of the news of the treaty on the Imperial Diet in Regens- 
burg is given in a letter of April 21, 1795, from Goertz, the Prussian 
delegate, to Hardenberg. Cf. Kaulek, Papiers de Barthilemy, v, 215. 
Meyerinck, the Prussian messenger, reached Berlin with a copy on 
April i2th, but the contents were not known for some time. See de- 
spatch of V. Lenthe's to ministry, April 14, in Cal. Br. Arch. Des. 24, 
Brandenburg-Preussen, no. 546. 


Hanover Accepts Prussian Neutrality 

Through the story of Prussia's negotiations at Basel, 
we are brought to a consideration of Hanover's attitude 
toward the peace negotiated for her. This account of 
Hanover's attitude toward peace requires a considera- 
tion of her anomalous position, and a retrospective 
glance at affairs in Regensburg since the peace proposi- 
tion of the elector of Mainz, in October, 1794. 

Hanover occupied a peculiar position. She was one 
of the leading members of the Empire. To her ruling 
house had been given the electoral hat in 1692, and 
during the century since, no state had excelled Hanover 
in loyalty to the house of Hapsburg.^ But in the French 
war beginning in 1792, she had not sent her troops to 
join the Imperial army, preferring to pay a contribution 
instead.'' She had, however, accepted subsidies from 
England, and Hanoverians in English pay had taken a 
most honorable part in the campaigns in Flanders,^ but 

^ See Ward, Great Britain and Hanover, p. 10. ** Which of these 
(members of the Quadruple Alliance) could compare with the devotion 
of the House of Brunswick-Lueneburg to the House of Austria? This 
sentiment was as an article of faith with the Hanoverian advisers of 
Geo. I." One could hardly say as much for the sentiments of the 
Hanoverian ministry of George III. 

^Von Sichart, Gesch. d. hannov. Armee, pt. iv, pp. 22-30. 
^Havemann, Geschichte von Braunschweig und Hannover, vol. iii, 
pt. iv. 

84 [522 


this giving of both men and money was a strain on the 
lukewarm German patriotism of those times.' 

The success of the French in Holland'' in the fall and 
winter of 1794-95 had laid open the western border of 
the Electorate, and threatened to bring war to the very 
firesides of the Hanoverians. Having had no interest at 
stake in the war of the Empire with France, Hanover 
manifested the usual indifference of communities called 
upon to defend distant fellow states. ^ The loyalty of 
Hanover to George IH. did not furnish a sufficient 
ground on which to appeal for greater sacrifices, for the 
Hanoverians saw that it was King George of Great Bri- 
tain, and not Kurfiirst Georg of Braunschweig-Liine- 
burg, who was engaged in the war.^ Despite this, how- 
ever, the English king and his Hanoverian ministry had 
hitherto agreed on the maintenance of the Empire and 
friendship with Austria as the best course for a middle 

^ While recruiting for the defence of the Electorate in 1796 and again in 
1803, the Regency had to take measures to prevent the young men from 
leaving the country. 

^ Hiilfer, Diplomatische Verhandlungen , i, 113. 

''See the complaints of the Imperial commander as to the indifference 
of the Northern members. Vivenot, Herzog von Sachsen-Teschen, ii, 
411. It reads quite like the complaints of a New York colonial governor 
as to the impossibility of making Virginia see the need of protecting 
a northern colony in case of a French-Indian war. 

* E. von Meier, Hannoversche Verfassungs- und Verwaltungsge- 
schichte, vol. i. Hanover had been called on for its quota for the 
Imperial army in the fall of 1792. Of the levy in triplo, 120,000 men 
(See Vivenot, Herzog Albrecht, etc., ii, 398, for an explanation of the 
formation of an Imperial army), Hanover should furnish as member 
of the Circle of Lower Saxony, 1131 cavalry and 2742 infantry. The 
outbreak of war between England and France had caused the former to 
take some 12-13,000 Hanoverians in its pay, and these with Hanover's 
Imperial quota, and other English soldiers and mercenaries, marched 
to the defense of the Netherlands. Von Sichart, Gesch. d. hannov, 
Armee, pt. iv, pp. 22-30. 


power in north Germany, particularly a power so much 
at the mercy of a strong neighbor like Prussia.^ 

Hanover's attitude on the matter of a general peace 
was complicated, morever, by the peculiar dual position 
of its sovereign, who was at once king of England and 
prince of the German Empire. As king of England he 
was the ally of Austria, which was earnestly opposing 
the peace movement in the Diet at Regensburg. By 
what sort of metaphysics, then, was Kurfiirst Georg to 
appear in the Imperial Diet as an advocate of the peace 
so heartily condemned by King George and his allies? 
On the other hand, what right had the king of England 
to sacrifice the electorate of Hanover to the demands of 
an English alliance, especially since Austria, as we have 
seen, was working to prevent the success of what it 
chose to call the ''unexpected" * move of the elector of 
Mainz? Did Pitt, as was so often claimed, control a 
vote in the German Imperial Diet which he could cast for 
England's interests ?3 Such were the puzzling questions 
involved in the determination of Hanover's policy on this 
single issue. 

^ The loyalty to Austria was always tempered by fear of Austria's plans 
to sacrifice the Empire to the greater interests of the Hapsburgs. At 
least this applies to the attitude of the Hanoverian ministry. Ministry 
to King, Oct. II, 1795 and March 12, 1797. Cal. Br. Des., 11, E, I, 
no. 1121. [Hanover Archives.) 

^ Report of Ministry to King, Nov. 7, 1794. The Hanoverian ministry 
could not call the Mainz proposition "unexpected," but they did ex- 
press surprised disapproval of the urgency of Mainz in the matter. 
" Insonderheit ist es uns etwas Unerwartetes gewesen gleich hernach 
zu vernehmen, auf welche offentliche Weise von dem churmainzischen 
Hof bereits zu Regensburg mit der Sache, hervor- und vorausgegangen 
ist." Report of Regency, Nov. ii, 1794. [_Hanover Archives. '\ 

•'The pamphlet literature of the period of the French occupation (1803) 
contains this assertion of Pitt's interference in affairs of the Empire 
through Hanover. See below, as to Pitt's knowledge of Hanover's 
actions in the matter of the Demarcation Line. 


The course of the Hanoverian ministry during the war 
had been the wavering, middle-of-the-road policy so often 
pursued by small states/ It had rented soldiers to Eng- 
land and paid money to the Empire instead of sending 
its quota. Its real safety lay in arranging directly with 
the French for its neutrality or in making itself count 
for enough to have its alliance sought by some larger 
power, to whom its respectable military strength and 
excellent situation would have been inducements suffi- 
cient to secure for Hanover protection on favorable 
terms. Instead of doing something like this, the Regency 
had pursued a policy which did not secure for the Elec- 
torate the protection and loyalty of either Austria or 
Prussia, and yet exposed it to the vengeance of the 
French, who chose to see in it a continental basis from 
whence the English could threaten the French borders. 
The realization of what this might bring on the peace- 
loving Hanoverians was keener in the minds of the 
Regency than it was in that of the absent ruler of the 
Electorate. He was bound to Austria in an offensive 
alliance; the ministry, on the other hand, were beginning 
to show clearly that their support of Austria was limited 
by narrow self-interest. 

The proposition of the bishop-elector of Mainz for an 
Imperial peace at once found favor in the eyes of the 
Hanoverian ministry. It offered them an excellent 
opportunity of to extricate themselves from a war in 
which they had no real interest. An Imperial peace — 
that is what they wished, and their letters to the king 
became urgent. For once they were anxious for decided 
action. Hanover must become an advocate of the peace. 

^ See Fritz Friedrich, Politik Sachsens; 1801 bis 1803 (Leipzig, 1898). 
This study shows Saxony pursuing the same policy. 


It must act, and not let the matter drift or fall into the 
hands of unfriendly powers like Denmark or Sweden, 
both of whom had been suggested at Regensburg ^s 

King George was clearly reluctant to move toward 
peace. In his letters to the Regency he deprecated 
hasty action, and would have Hanover agree to the 
Mainz proposition only when it was clear that all the 
other states favored it.'' It was his advice that they wait 
till they found out what the elector of Saxony was going 
to do. A month later he spoke more as became the ally 
of Austria. "Wait for peace through the unified action 
of the Empire under the leadership of the Emperor." ^ 
He issued a note to the Hanoverian representatives at 
foreign courts condemning the action of Mainz for the 
indiscreet and unprepared manner in which it had pro- 
posed peace. It was, he said, due to the Emperor or to 
the powers from whom the German Empire had received 
help and support [England] that they should be con- 
sulted rather than thus embarrassed. He was "of no 
other mind than that it would be most advisable to let 
the matter drop entirely for the present." The sacrifices 
of the Emperor should have earned the confidence of all, 
and when the proper time came the Emperor, as Reichs- 
oherhaupt, with the co-operation of the Diet, was the 
one who should negotiate a peace. j 

The ministry, however, were of a wholly different, 
view, simply because they did not want to see peace 

^Regency to King, Oct. 24, 1794. For some light on the previous 
relations between Hanover and Denmark, see Ward, Great Britain and 
Hanover^ chap. iii. 

"^ Rescript of October 30, 1794. 

■^ Rescript of November 30, 1794. 


longer delayed. Waiting for an Imperial peace on the 
motion of Austria was not to their mind, at least not 
when French armies were overrunning Holland. Conse- 
quently, much to the disappointment of the Austrian 
ministers, the Hanoverian cabinet took, through its rep- 
resentative at Regensburg, an attitude most favorable 
to peace.' They held that it was all in vain that the 
Empire was expending its strength when peace was the 
thing most to be sought.'' So earnest was its desire 
that we have now to trace how, even despite its suspi- 
cions concerning Prussia's desire to gain preponderance 
in the Empire,^ it was willing to seek the protection of 
the peace Prussia had negotiated. 

Some of the other German states had hardly waited 
the conclusion of the treaty before appealing to Prussia 
for her mediation in a peace with France.'^ And it 
is equally true that Prussian agents were sounding 
the various states as to their attitude towards a neu- 
trality policy before the Demarcation Line had been 
incorporated in the treaty. Austria was just as busy at 
Regensburg and at the various courts presenting the 
perfidy of Prussia's conduct and the danger of reliance 
on a power that had already sacrificed the Imperial in- 
terests beyond the Rhine. This rivalry, as has been 
noticed, pushed Prussia to the unseemly length of pub- 
lishing, as a finished fact, a treaty to which Barthelemy 
had given but a general assent. 

Beyond a doubt the ef^cacy of the essential principles 
of the Prussian-French treaty of Basel lay in the attitude 

^ See Hausser, i, 582, for exactly opposite statement. 

2 Vivenot, Herzog Albrecht von Sachsen-Teschen, ii, 135 et passim, 

'Regency to King, Dec. 5, 1794. 

^Hist. Zeit. (Bailleu), 1895, 211-212. 


assumed toward them by Hanover/ Among the aims of 
the French in agreeing to the Demarcation Line was 
their desire to secure themselves from attack on the side 
of the recently conquered Holland and to make sure of 
the commercial advantages accruing to them through 
untrammeled trade with Hamburg, Bremen and Liibeck. 
Neither of these objects was secure as long as Hanover 
followed the policy of the English crown. It is clear 
then why the French insisted that the treaty must con- 
tain Prussia's promise to seize Flanover if the latter did 
not accept neutrality. As Hanover went, so went the 
fortunes of the neutral policy.^ 

The Hanoverians were thoroughly dissatisfied with the 
war policy which made them a cat's-paw for Great Britain, 
and exposed them, as a result, to the danger of a French 
invasion. The safety and interests of Hanover itself made 
it clear to the ministry that the establishment of a de- 
marcation line would be to the advantage of the electo- 
rate. Their task lay in bringing their elector. King 
George HI. of England, to agree to the separation of 
Hanover from the support of the English-Austrian oppo- 
sition to France, and in allowing it to seek the protec- 
tion of its hereditary rival in North Germany. 

Influence direct and indirect had been brought to bear 
to make sure of Hanover's friendly attitude towards a 
separate peace. The Duke of Brunswick, who possessed 
the confidence of both courts, was moved by the Berlin 
cabinet to write to Hanover urging the Regency to ap- 

' The influence of Hanover in determining the success of this Prussian 
scheme of defence for North Germany recalls the situation in 1778, when 
Frederick the Great proposed military measures against a possible 
French invasion. See Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 48-49. 

' Cal. Br. Des. 11, No. 545, Hanover Archives (Von Lenthe's de- 
spatch of April 4, 1795). 


peal to Berlin for Prussian mediationj and citing to them 
his own example.^ However, the Hanoverian Regency 
did not seem in any haste to throw itself into Prussia's 
arms. True, it gave the Berlin cabinet most friendly 
assurances, but it went no further, except to urge that 
a clause be inserted in the impending treaty by which 
German princes who might desire the benefit of the 
Prussian neutrality would be allowed three months in 
which to decide. Meanwhile Hardenberg, in Basel, was 
assuring Barthelemy again and again that Hanover would 
certainly accede to the neutrality if it could once be ar- 
ranged. What of^cial basis there was for such an inter- 
pretation of Hanover's opinions does not appear from 
an examination of the archives at Hanover, except that 
such an examination reveals the fact already commented 
on, namely, that Hanover was a member of the peace 
party at Regensburg, and that their delegate, von Omp- 
teda, was extremely hostile to Austria, and correspond- 
ingly disliked by the court of Vienna.^ When the news 
of the treaty of Basel came to Regensburg, von Ompteda 
did not hesitate to proclaim Prussia the savior of Han- 
over. ^ 

^Tlie original of the Duke's letter is to be found in Cal. Br. Des. 11, 
E, I, No. 1130 {Hanover Archives) . It is most alarming in its tone. 
According to the Duke, Pichegru has orders from the Convention to 
seize Hanover and urges that King George cannot disapprove if, in view 
of lack of time, they capitulate at once or seek neutrality. Malmesbury, 
Diaries and Correspondence , iii, 209, mentions this letter. 

^ Goertz, the Prussian delegate at Regensburg, writes to Hardenberg 
April 21, 1795. "... Mais ce que surprenoit et confondoit encore le 
plus la cour de Vienne, etoit d'etre informee qu'il y avoit eu a Bale un 
homme avoue, M. de Hinuber, qui avoit eu le premier connoissance du 
traite et que les notes du ministre de Hanovre donnees a Berlin, de 
meme que les correspondances entre les ministres de Hanovre et de 
Cassel se trouvoient entierement en contradiction avec les assurances 
venues de Londres." Barthelemy, v, 215. 

^Barthelemy, v, 215. The utterances of this " Comitial Gesandter " 


English policy under Pitt's leadership leaned, in 1795, 
more and more toward the Austrian alliance. In the 
months succeeding the treaty of Basel new subsidies 
were granted Austria, and a Triple Alliance, including 
Russia, was arranged, less, however, for use than for 
show.^ The king, George III., w^as firm for a prosecu- 
tion of the war, so insistent that at the close of the year 
the English ministry's message to the House of Com- 
mons expressing sentiments favorable to a peace with 
France, though in the king's name, did not, we are told, 
represent his real opinion.^ From the mioment of the 
introduction of the peace proposal by the representative 
of Mainz at Regensburg, George had been restraining 
the peace inclinations of his Hanoverian ministry. His 
communications had urged the ministr}^ time after time 
to delay action on some pretext or other. 

The ministry were, as has been shown, in favor of 
taking a definite stand for peace. On their own initiative 
they sent Hiniiber^ to Basel to watch proceedings there. 
In the same independent spirit they had given Prussia 
assurances of a kind that made the Berlin statesmen 
sure Hanover would not oppose their scheme of neutral- 
izing North Germany.^ 

seem to have been rather more strongly Prussian than his royal master 
or even the Hanoverian ministry approved. 

^ Stanhope, Life of Pitt, ii, 331. 
^Ibid., ii, 366. 

'These are among the important instances in which the ministry 
acted first and secured the king's consent afterwards. 

*Ranke {Complete Works, vol. xlvii, 284-285) in his ^^ Notiz iiber die 
Memoiren des Graf en von Haugwitz" has the following paragraph: 

"Von grosser Merkwiirdigkeit sind die Verhandlungen mit England 
und Hannover, welche noch vor dem Abschluss des Baseler Friedens 
eroffnetj.wurden. Nach Haugwitz liess Georg IH. den Konig voti 
Preussen^ bitten, Hannover in seine Protection zu nehmen. Der han- 


Hanover's representative at Berlin had secured, ac- 
according to the statement of the Berlin cabinet, 
the introduction into the treaty of the clause which 
allowed other states within a period of three months to 
avail themselves of the benefits of peace/ The readi- 

noverische Gesandte Lenthe bemerkte, dass Georg III. als Kurfiirst 
von Hannover seine Politik von der trennen werde, die er als Konig 
von England beobachte. Friedrich Wilhelm II. gerieth in eine gewisse 
Aufwallung hieriiber: denn die englische Politik sei ja die einzige Ver- 
anlassung seiner Friedensverhandlungen mit Frankreich. England 
habe ihn gezwungen, ganz gegen seine Gesinnung, mit der revolution- 
aren Macht, die er an sich perhorrescire, in Verbindung zu treten. 
N'est-ce pas cet abandon que j'ai eprouve de la part de I'Angleterre qui 
m'a enfin oblige a vaincre la repugnance que vous avez connue et que 
vous avez si bien jugee de m'approcher d'un gouvernement auquel je 
suis loin encore d'accorder ma confiance?, Zugleich aber erinnert sich 
der Konig, dass er immer die Sache des deutschen^;Reiches gefiihrt 
habe, und da der Herzog von Braunschweig, der Vertraute seiner 
Gedanken, der ihn hauptsachlich mit zum Kriege veranlasst hat, sich 
fiir Hannover verwendet, so lasst er durch den Herzog dem Konige 
von England versichern, dass derselbe allezeit aufj'den Scliutz von 
Preussen rechnen konne. Mais il s'agit maintenant de repondre a 
I'ouverture confidentielle du gouvernement d'Hanovre. Nous dirons, 
qu'apres tout ce que j'ai fait pour I'empire gerrnanique^il n'est pas per- 
mis d'elever le moindre doute sur mes dispositions en faveur de cette 
partie de TAllemagne, qui doit compter preferablement.!a tout-autre sur 
ma protection." 

All the evidence in the archives at Planover emphasizes the sharp 
divergence between the views of King George and those of his ministry 
on the subject of Basel. Ranke's inclusion of England, and even of 
George III., as parties to negotiations on behalf of Hanover, is the re- 
suit of following Haugwitz's defence of his conduct. It was clearly to 
Haugwitz's interest to interpret, as in strict right he might, all action 
of the Hanoverian ministry as directed by the king of England. He 
was well aware of the separation between England and Hanover, but 
it was one of those things which Haugwitz's elastic conscience allowed 
him to recognize or deny as best suited the moment. 

' Gronau, Christian Wilhelm von Dohm [Lemgo, 1824], p. 285, note i, 
and Regency's report to King George of the instructions they had sent 
V. Lenthe at Berlin, Feb. 26, 1795, Cal. Br. Arch. Des. 24, No. 546. 
Pol. Korrespondenz von Karl Friederick v. Baden, vol. ii, p. 311. Also 


ness with which they would accept the proffered peace 
may be inferred from this. Indeed, in January/ when 
the danger of a French invasion was imminent, they had 
gone farther, and authorized the Hanoverian minister at 
Berhn, von Lenthe, to accept ad referendum any arrange- 
ment negotiated by Prussia for Lower Saxony."* When 
the treaty of Basel came to them the Regency were 
ready to begin the campaign against their sovereign's 

The diverging interests of Hanover and England, as 
represented in the conflict of opinions between the 
Regency and King George, were evident in the matter 
of the Imperial peace; they again found clear expres- 
sion in the king's disapproval of the ministry's policy 
as outlined to him in their letter of February 26, 
^795- ^" \h2\. date they wrote him of the imminent 

instructions to von Dolim, Sept. 11, 1795, R 67, B 18, vol. ii, pp. 
69-75. {Berlin Archives.) 

^V. Lenthe handed in the memoire Jan. 27. The king of Prussia 
had responded to the appeal for protection by a plan of defense which 
joined Clerfayt's force and Mollendorft's army and the Hanoverian- 
English contingent. Haugwitz was particularly anxious to know what 
the London cabinet thought of Prussia's project. See despatch of Haug- 
witz to Jacobi-Klost, Prussian minister in London. Feb. 9, 1795. 
April 7, Jacobi reports that after an audience with Pitt, he sees that Pitt 
is poorly informed as to the Hanoverian-Prussian peace negotiations. 
Pitt says that what von Lenthe has done must have been on his own 
authority. Jacobi assured him that it was done with king George's 
authority. Pitt was embarrassed and said it was always necessary to 
separate King and Elector. R. XI, 73 England Conv,, 167. {Berlin 

'^Regency to von Lenthe, Jan. 25, 1795. Cal. Br. Des. 11, E, 7, 
1130. {Hanover Archives.) The inclusion of Hanover in a neutrality 
line was no surprise. Late in February, von Lenthe had reported that 
Prussia was insisting on the inclusion of Hanover in the desired neu- 
trality (letter of Ministry to King George, Feb. 26, 1795.) April 4, 
von Lenthe wrote that Prussia's insistence on Hanover's neutrality 
was delaying the treaty. 


danger of a French invasion. Hanover being unable 
alone to resist France, they considered Prussia the only 
refuge. Hesse-Cassel and Brunswick had been promised 
by Prussia inclusion in the peace then being negotiated, 
and von Lenthe had been instructed to ask at Berlin for 
the three-months clause which had been part of the treaty 
of Ryswick.^ Could not the king be moved to agree to 
the Prussian treaty under such circumstances, the ministry 
asked ?^ The king's answer was clear. He joined the issue 
by disapproving the steps taken at Berlin as unnecessary, 
and by telling the ministry that, as far as he knew anything 
about the treaty negotiations, they were opposed to his 
fundamental principles, to which he would be true.^ The 
king seemed unmoved by the situation of his Electorate, 
which, unsupported by the Empire, or by its neighbors, 
who were themselves seeking Prussian protection, stood 
under the shadow of a French invasion.'^ 

The ministry at Hanover were not pro-Prussian from 
principle. Had there been a hope of an Imperial peace 
under the leadership of Austria they would have been 
glad to seek safety that v/ay. They could not view with 
favor a special Prussian treaty with France which would 
give Prussia an opportunity to dictate terms in a later 
Imperial peace. Such a peace would give Prussia an un- 
welcome preponderance when other states followed its 

' See a preceding page for explanation. 

^ It is in this same letter they tell the king of Hiniiber's mission to 
Basel. Calenberg-Briefe , Designation 11, E, I, N'o. 1130. 

'King's reply is dated March 17, 1795, and only approves the sending 
of von Hiniiber. George III. considered the action of Prussia uncon- 
stitutional. The rescript of April 17, 1795, is in a similar strain. 

*The danger and measures taken to ward it off were reported to the 
king March 17. V. Lenthe at Berlin had been told to give Kaugwitz 
the impression that King George would follow the action of the other 


lead in the matter of special peace.' This statement of 
their attitude gave them common ground with their sov- 
ereign, and a certain amount of confidence thus estab- 
lished, they proceeded in their letters of April 16 and 
18 to argue the question of ratifying Prussia's special 
treaty with France at Basel, April 5, 1795. 

Their argument ran something as follows : If the treaty 
of Basel be viewed from, the Prussian standpoint alone it 
simply restores good relations between France and 
Prussia. As Article V. does not yield any territory of 
the Empire or of its miembers, but refers such matters to 
a future convention, the treaty cannot be regarded as un- 
constitutional. As to the other members of the Empire, 
there were two stipulations — Article XL, which pro- 
vided for securing peace for them, and Article I. of the 
secret articles which established the Demarcation Line. 
True, this peace is not consonant with the previous 
agreement of Prussia with King George and the Em- 
pire, nor is it well supported by historical precedents.^ 
But the peace of Basel was not inimical to the king's in- 
terests (as elector), for it assured the safety of his lands, 
except the county (Grafschaft) ofBentheim; furthermore, 
they thought that could be saved when a general peace 
was arranged, as Hanover will in the meantime have Bre- 
men and Ritzebiittel in its hands. The Regency argues 
that the acquiescence in the treaty was not inconsonant 
with the elector's duties as a prince of the Empire, for 

^ See their letters to the king, April 5 and April 12. 

^ They are able to cite the action of Prussia in the v/ar of the Spanish 
Succession v/here she concluded a peace in 1713 at Utrecht, while the 
Imperial peace was concluded in 1714 at Rastatt and Baden. In 1679 at 
the Congress of Nymwegen the house Braunschweig-Liineburg (Han- 
over) had concluded a separate peace at Celle before the Imperial peace 
was arranged. 


they reasoned that Article 11. of the treaty, which pro- 
Tided for the cessation of all hostilities including the furn- 
ishing of men and supplies against each other, related 
simply to France and Prussia, and therefore Hanover 
would be free to continue its support to the Im.perial army. 
As to the arrangements in the secret articles concerning 
the states behind the Demarcation Line, the Regency did 
not think such provisions would affect Hanover. In 
truth, of course, they did not know the real contents of 
those secret articles. They had no contingent to with- 
draw from the Imperial army, and as the article provided 
that no state was to make any 7tew arrangement, Han- 
over would be allowed to continue its old arrangements, 
namely, to pay its share toward supporting a military 
contingent, and to contribute the Imperial taxes (Ro- 
mermonate). Thirdly, Hanover had in no way been a 
leader in the war, and was therefore not especially antag- 
onistic to a special peace. The continuation of the war 
by England would not be affected by Hanover's acquies- 
cence. All that was needed to secure to the Electorate 
the advantages of peace was a simple declaration from 
Hanover that the article as to the Demarcation Line was 
** absorbiert." If Prussia required it, a more specific 
statement could be given, and they outlined a communi- 
cation whose wording is much like the letter in which 
King George finally expressed to Prussia his acquies- 
cence. ^ 

Despite the pressure of the Regency and the urgency 
of Prussia expressed both at Hanover and in London, 
King George hesitated to give a definite answer. ''He 

^ Later letters which take a still more favorable view of the Demarca- 
tion Line, may be based on the prematurely printed convention addi- 
tionelle mentioned in the Papiers de Barthelemy, vol. v. 


was pleased to see his German states in safety, but he 
could not clearly see how he was to act without finding 
himself in collision with his principles as king of Eng- 
land. The king awaited with great impatience the reports 
from Hanover and Regensburg relative to the negotia- 
tions for peace with France/ 

The news of the additional treaty of May 17 aroused 
the English people still more, and increased their king's 
embarrassment. Haugwitz recognized that the action 
asked of Hanover did not square with the war policy of 
the cabinet of St. James and England's recently estab- 
lished relations with Austria. He watched with keen 
interest their attitude toward the treaty of Basel. ^ 

The English ministry had sought to avoid all respon- 
sibility for the part of Hanover in the treaty of Basel. ^ 
They advanced as their defense the distinction between 
George as king and as elector. This, however, did not 
satisfy several members of the House of Commons, and 
Putney interrogated Pitt concerning the matter, calling 
Pitt's attention ''to the extreme astonishment of the pub- 
lic in the matter." Pitt answered that he had just come 

^ Dispatch of Jacobi-Klost from London to Haugwitz, May 26, 1795. 
{^Berlin Archives .) This was not, as Jacobi knew, consistent with the 
instructions of Ompteda at Regensburg where Hanover had given it to 
be understood that she would accept Prussian protection. 

^King Fred'k Wm. HI. (Haugwitz) to Jacobi, June 21, 1795. {Berlin 
Archives .) 

^Reports of Parliamentary debates are fragm.entary. The best ma- 
terial was found in the files of the London dailies in the British Museum. 
The ministerial policy of subsidies to Prussia had been attacked as pay- 
ing Prussia to defeat Kosciusko. Then when Prussia aud Hanover con- 
clude peace with a government considered by Pitt as too unstable to 
treat with, the opposition (Fox and Sheridan) refused to see the differ- 
ence between the King of England and the Elector of Hanover and 
proposed to import Hanoverian ministers to advise the king rather than 
Hanoverian soldiers to defend him. 


from an interview with the king and ''the king could give 
the exoHcit assurance that the Elector of Hanover will 


never separate himself from the King of England." Di- 
rect as was the answer given by Pitt, continues the 
Prussian ambassador, Jacobi, it did not satisfy all the 
members of Parliament. The matter, however, could 
not be pushed farther without accusing the king of du- 
plicity. To Prussian overtures, through Jacobi, the king 
presented the same opposition to all measures neces- 
sitated by the treaty of Basel. Best, the Hanoverian at- 
tache, assured Jacobi that this was the king's final posi- 
tion in the matter.^ 

If the action of Hanover interested Prussia, France 
and England, it interested no less the cabinet of Eng- 
land's ally, Austria. The activity of the Hofburg states- 
men against the success of Prussia in securing the acqui- 
escence of the states within the newly established Demar- 
cation Line has been noticed. April 20, 1795, Morton 
Eden, the English minister at Vienna, wrote Grenville 
that Thugut still hoped to bring about a complete con- 
cert between the courts of Vienna, Hanover and Dresden. 
He would thus defeat the machinations of Prussia to 
efifect a formal division in the Empire forcing Austria to 
a disadvantageous peace. ^ 

Austria sought by every means possible to make its 
opposition to the treaty of Basel effective. Representa- 
tions against it were made in London, Hanover and St. 
Petersburg and in the court of every South German 
prince. Even Thugut, who generally underrated the 
force of public opinion, resorted to the aid of periodicals 

^Jacobi to Haugwitz, July 19, 1795, — Berlin Archives, R XI, 73, 
England, 167 , Bd. I. The Prussians were trying to secure the evacua- 
tion by Hanover of Ritzebiittel and Cuxhaven. 

T. O. Austria, No. 40 [Eng. Rec. Office). 


and pamphlets to meet the propaganda of the Prussians.^ 
Promises were made to the Hanoverians of greater ac- 
tivity on the part of the Imperial army.^ But the Hano- 
verian ministry, despite its often-expressed distrust of 
Prussia and her leadership in the negotiation of peace, ^ 
was readier to take its place under the Prussian ^gis 
than it Vv^as to trust the House of Austria. Von Omp- 
teda, the ministerial agent of Hanover to the Diet of the 
Empire, showed himself at all times the active ally of 
Goerz, the Prussian representative, and Austria could 
only hope to secure the support of Hanover through 
pressure brought to bear on its ally, King George of 
England. At St. James they were assured of the sup- 
port of the anti-Prussian wing of the cabinet. '^ 

As has already been noted, both Prussia^ and the Ger- 
man ministry of King George were active in creating at 
St. James a sentiment favorable to the accession of Han- 
over to the neutrality of the ''convention additionelle.^' 

But the Hanoverian appeal to King George to accept 
the Demarcation Lin$ was inspired by fear of the French 
armies then in Holland near the Westphalian boundaries, 
and by distrust in the English government, for which 
they v/ould be suffering if war continued, rather than by 
any settled policy of adhesion to Prussia. The king, 

Wivenot, Sachsen-Teschen, vol. ii, pt. 2. 

^Hardenberg (in Vienna) to the Hanoverian ministry, April 15, 1795. 
Hannover Des, 92, XXXVH, A, No. 1, 30, also A, 2, June 15. '95. 

'^ Cf. e. g. Ministry to King Geo., Dec. 5, 1794. — Cal. Br. Des. 11, 
E, I, No. 1123. Reverse of this to Ompteda at Regensburg, June 17, 
179s.— Cal. Br. Des. 11, E, HI, No. 66. 

*Grenvilie, Loughborough, Stormont, Cornwaliis, Windham, Spencer, 
Duke of York, and Lords Howe and Hawkesbury. Jacobi to Haug- 
witz, April 24, 1795. [Berlin Archives.) 

^'As to Prussia's use of English newspapers see Haugv/itz to Jacobi, 
May 6, 1795.— i?, XI, 73, England Conv., 167. {Berlin Archives.) 


against his own personal feeling, against the opposition 
of his ally Austria, and seemingly without reference to 
the opinions of his English ministry, yielded finally to the 
arguments of his German cabinet, and on the last day'' 
of the three months of grace, the Hanoverian ministry 
were rejoiced by receiving their sovereign's consent. 
It was not a very hearty approval nor very generously 
granted, but it enabled them to satisfy the sharp demands 
of the Prussian cabinet, itself acting under pressure from 
the French government.^ 

It may well be doubted whether his Hanoverian sub- 
jects ever fully appreciated the struggle it cost George 
III. to comply with French demands, and at the same 
time put Prussia beyond danger of complications which 
might drive her back to the alliance she had abandoned. 
Several years later, when he was talking with the Hano- 
verian minister in London about subsidies from the 
Hanoverian army defending the Electorate, the king re- 

^ Haugwitz told von Lenthe that July 25 was last day of grace. See 
V. L. to Han. ministry, June 25, 1795. Des. 24, No. 547. 

^The King's rescript is dated Aug. 4, 1795, and was received at Han- 
over August 14. " Wir halten mit euch dafiir, dass es bei der Wendung 
zu Regensburg dazu nicht kommen werde, dass der Berliner Hof von 
den in der Demarcations Linie begriffenen Reichsstanden einer Erkla- 
rung begehren soUte. In einem solchen nicht zu verhoffenden Fall 
wiirde in dessen nach eurem Vorschlage die unverfangliche Aeusserung, 
dass man mit Vorbehalt aller Reichsstandischen Zustandigkeiten bei 
dem preussischen Frieden acquiescire alien Umstanden nach wolge- 
schehen konnen." The Ministry under date of August 20 say concern- 
ing this v/ording of the consent: " Insonderheit ist darin auch der 
Punkt der preussischen Verwendung auch eine so vorsichtige und 
angemessene Weise ( ? ), dass damit weder zu viel 

eingeraumet noch angestossen wird, nur gerade heriiber die diesseits 
dabei gehegte Meinung erfiillet und adoptirt ist." Cal. Br. Des, 11, 
E, I, No. 1121. Vivenot, Herzog Albrecht v. Sachsen-Teschen, ii, 2, 
p. 210 (Wien, 1866), makes the unpardonable blunder of speaking of 
England's accepting the Demarcation Line on behalf of Hanover. 


plied to the Hanoverian appeal that each land must bear 
its own burdens. He added that he could but reproach 
his German subjects for not having risen inarms in 1795, 
to resist to the last all possible invasion. England, v^dth 
the v^hole nation then (March, 1799) under arms ready 
to repulse the enemy, vi^as showing the spirit King George 
had hoped his German subjects would exhibit.' 

In consenting to accept the neutrality arranged by 
Prussia, King George attempted to maintain a semblance 
of legality and loyalty to the tottering Empire, by refer- 
ence to an Imperial peace to be negotiated under the 
Austrian leadership. The Hanoverian Ministry, recog- 
nizing the necessities of their situation as their supreme 
law of conduct, had raised no serious question as to what 
their fellow-states at Regensburg or the Emperor in 
Vienna would think. ^ Austrian leadership for North 
German states behind a Prussian Demarcation Line, was 
hardly within the realm of the practicable. Hanover, 
even more definitely than in the days of the Fiirstenbund, 
was turning from Austria to Prussia. The situation cre- 
ated by Hanover's acquiescence in the treaty of Basel and 
by her vote at Regensburg, in July, 1795, that the King 
of Prussia should be associated with the Emperor in the 
negotiation of an Imperial peace, had created a political 
unity, in which there were possibilities — great possibili- 
ties — of Prussian-Hanoverian cooperation for the control 
of North Germany in opposition to the Austrian policy 
which the rest of the Empire was following. 

^ See the interesting promemoria of von Lenthe on the EngHsh atti- 
tude in 1799. {Han. Arch.) Cal. Br. Des. 11, E.I, no. 1126, Mar. 12, 

^ On the way the action of the Elector of Hanover was regarded, see 
letter of Lucchesini to Hardenberg, Oct. 17, 179S, in Mitt, a. d. nach- 
gelassenen Papieren eines preuss. Diplomaten [Schladen], Herausge- 
geben von L. v. L[edebur]. (Berlin, 1868.) 


The treaty of Basel was the death-blow to the mori- 
bund German Empire. Vivenot has well said, '' It was 
not until August 6, 1806, that the last German Emperor 
resigned the Imperial crown. He might just as well 
have done it April 5, 1795, for since the day of the treaty 
of Basel the crown had lost all its significance."^ There 
was revealed an insight keener than that of his day and 
generation in the words of Malet du Pan when told that 
the treaty of Basel was concluded : '' L' Europe s'en 
va. ^ 

^ Albrecht, Herzog von Sachsen-Teschen, ii, 2, p. 542, also pp. 140, 
212 and 537, for similar statements. Similarly Bourgoing, 171-72. 
Treitschke {Deutsche Gesch., i, 142) says Hausser's opinion to the 
same effect is suppressed in the third edition of his Deutsche Geschichte 
appearing posthumously at the time of the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. 

Goerz, the Prussian agent at Regensburg, wrote Hardenberg April 
21, 1795 (trans.): "By your Article XI the King has become the 
arbiter of the fate of Germany, and if we and France take advantage of 
it, as it is the permanent interest of both to do, the court of Vienna 
will not longer have a shadow of influence in all Germany. France 
will draw all the princes to her and reunite them to the system of 
Prussia who will not delay to become (d'etre) her ally." Barthelemy, v, 

^Sayous, ii, 136 (Quoted by Sorel, Revue hist., vli, 357). 


Failure of the Convention Additionelle 
OF May 17, 1795 

The Regency^ and the influential classes in Hanover 
had welcomed the establishment of neutrality. The dan- 
ger of a French invasion in January and February, 1795, 
together with the well-known French view of Hanover 
as an English dependency, had almost created a panic 
in the defenceless province, for the disorganized and dis- 
heartened English and Hanoverian army was in no con- 
dition to meet the advance of the conquering French. 
Naturally, then, the cordon that Prussia promised to 
draw around the Electorate seemed a veritable boon. 

It was, however, the misfortune of Hanover that peace 
arrangements with the French Republic were effective 
only in proportion to the military precautions taken to 
insure their observance. Nor had the Demarcation Line 
arranged at Basel proved to be the finality that the small 
states expected to find it. When they were urging Han- 
over to save herself by acquiescing in the Line, Haug- 
witz and his colleagues were pleased to speak of it as a 
safe refuge from being " sansculottized."^ Now their 
own memorials to their master, the king, recognized the 

^The ministers in Hanover will hereafter be designated as the 
Regency. This is in conformity v/ith French and English usage of the 
times and will make clearer discussions in which Prussian, English and 
Russian ministries are involved. 

^ Haugwitz's expression. CY". Bailleu, i, 113. 

104 [542 


negotiations at Basel as being arranged for a line much 
longer than Prussia could hope to maintain. 

That the inviolability of the line was not earlier tested 
is to be explained by the delay in opening the campaign 
of 1795. All summer long the French troops, under 
Jourdan and Pichegru, lay along the Rhine, hindered in 
their plans by lack of supplies and by the dissensions at 
home which kept the government fighting for its very 
existence. With the fall of Luxembourg and the failure 
of the invasion in Bretagne, the forces of the Republic on 
the Rhine found themselves in a position to open the 
long-delayed campaign. Their first offensive movement, 
the crossing of the Rhine, led to a violation of the De- 
marcation Line in the most ruthless manner. Eichel- 
kamp, on the east bank of the Rhine and within the line, 
was seized, despite the protest of the Prussian officers 
that such action violated the neutrality of the place. The 
French had reckoned well on the weakness of the 
Prussians and their unwise confidence in French pro- 
testations of loyalty to their obligations respecting the 
Demarcation Line. With Eichelkamp in their hands, 
they were able to threaten the Austrian communications 
and force the Imperial troops into a retreat.^ 

The Prussian troops had practically all been with- 
drawn from the frontier into Prussian territory on the 
lower Rhine. The exception was the Prussian force 
under Hohenlohe, which had drawn a cordon around 
Frankfort. Here it was that the French and Austrians 
both violated the neutrality line, and General Hohenlohe, 
feeling himself too weak to resist, contented himself vv^ith 
dignified notes of protest until ordered by his govern- 
ment to withdraw into Franconia.^ Everywhere the 

^ On the details of the above paragraphs see Hausser, ii, pp. 30 £f. 
^Gray, English agent in Berlin, writes Nov. 3, 1795: "The French 


French pushed forward, plundering right and left. The 
smaller powers of the region were in a panic/ and all 
who could, fled into neutral territory. How long that 
would offer protection seemed to depend only on the 
necessity in which the French might find themselves of 
violating it in order to forward their military operations. 
The French had calculated rightly upon being able to 
violate with impunity their treaty obligations to Prussia. 
One might have expected at least a vigorous protest 
against these high-handed measures. Instead, the Prus- 
sian ministry informed the French representative in Ber- 
lin that they abandoned the Demarcation Line in the re- 
gion of Frankfort.^ General Hohenlohe, the Prussian 
commander, was ordered to withdraw his troops into 
Franconia. Such a revelation of weakness could but im- 
press unfavorably the states who had trusted their safety 
to the much-vaunted Demarcation Line. The Demarca- 
tion Line which was to bring the benefits of peace to so 
large an area, and be the introduction to an Imperial 
pacification, had crumbled at the first shock of contend- 
ing armies. 

General Jourdan having announced the loth of last month, while he was 
in the neighborhood of Frankfort, that he had received orders not to re- 
spect any longer the line of Demarcation except with regard to such 
Princes as had recalled their contingents, the situation of Prince 
Hohenlohe at Frankfort, with the corps of Prussian troops under his 
command became of course extremely delicate. The passage of the 
Main by the Austrians which had since taken place, has contributed still 
more to the embarrassment of that position. To avoid, therefore, being 
committed either with the Austrians or French this court has sent 
orders to Prince Hohenlohe to retire with his troops into the King of 
Prussia's dominions in Franconia." \_English Record Office. '\ 

^ Hausser, ii, 35. 

2 Prussian note to Caillard, Nov. 25, 1795, quoted by v. Alvensleben. 
Cf. Bailleu i, 149 ff. 


Even before this proof that the mere negotiation of 
neutrality was not synonymous with securing it, Hanover 
had recognized her especial danger. The Electorate's 
peculiar relation to England, and the presence within or 
near her borders, of English, Dutch, French emigre, and 
native troops, made her position far less secure than that 
of the neighboring provinces. It seemed necessary to 
the Ministry to ask in return for Hanover's accession 
a special acknowledgment from France, of the Elector- 
ate's neutrality. To secure this was the task the Hano- 
verian Ministry set Haugwitz after their acquiescence in 
August, 1795, and again and again they pressed on him 
the necessity — the plain duty — of the French to come out 
into the open with their intentions. 

But a new light had dawned on the French govern- 
ment, and the very slowness with which Hanover had 
been brought to accede to the treaty, and its dilatoriness 
in enforcing neutrality, had aroused suspicions.^ Instead 
of the '' Gegen Erklarung," for which Hanover clamored, 
the Republic transmitted vigorous protests through Bar- 
thelemy at Basel and Caillard at Berlin, against the as- 
sembling of emigrants and Dutch around Osnabriick. 

When these protests resulted in Prussia's causing the 
assembled forces to move, only to Ve-assemble in Olden- 
berg and Hanover, French complaints became threats. 
If the Dutch and French emigrants were not entirely 
removed from Hanoverian soil, the French troops would 
advance into the Electorate and undertake their disper- 
sal.* Reports of the French agents exaggerated the 

^ Barthelemy, v, passim. 

^ Haugwitz to von Lenthe, Hanoverian minister in Berlin. Cf. lat- 
ter's dispatch of Sept. 12, 1795, no. 546. {Hanover Archives.) French 
complaints during the summer of 1795 are to be found in Barthelemy, 
V, 338, 348, 372, 379, 380, 388, 399, 411, 414, 421 and 496. Especially 
vigorous protests are given on pp. 364 and Z7^' 


strength of the troops behind the Demarcation Line.^ 
The protests to Hardenberg, vigorous as they were, 
seemed, as far as the French could see, to be ineffective, 
and it was surmised that Hardenberg was not passing 
these protests on to BerHn. The necessity of having an 
agent in BerHn to speak directly to the Prussian Minis- 
try on these matters was one of the reasons for appoint- 
ing Caillard as French ambassador to Berlin.^ It is 
evident that the conservative and moderate Barthelemy 
was restraining the more radical elements in the govern- 
ment at Paris. He was not willing to see the whole 
work of his negotiations swept away by an invasion of 
Hanover, however well justified the move might seem.^ 
In the opinion of the progressive party in Paris, the time 
had come for threatening summary action. Having 
found their protests to Hanover by the way of Berlin 
ineffectual, the French urged that there now existed the 
situation contemplated by the secret articles of the con- 
vention additionelle of May 17, 1795, namely, that Han- 
over, not having observed the stipulated neutrality, should 
be taken en depdt by Prussia. Prussian occupation, the 
French government thought, was the only way to com- 
pel the Electorate to conform strictly to the terms of the 
neutrality arranged for it. These threats (except those 
referring to secret articles of the treaty of Basel) were 
transmitted to Hanover through the Prussian Minister.'* 

^One agent estimates their strength at 40,000. Barthelemy, v, zi^t 

'^Cf. note I, and Barthelemy, v, 412, 413. 

' Barthelemy, July 18, vol. v, ZIT' 

* Haugwitz not only kept Hanover alarmed by communicating French 
threats, but he used the courts of Hesse-Cassel and Osnabrueck to con- 
vey to Hanover rumors of impending danger from French invasion. 
Ministry to King George, Oct. 4, '95, no. 1130. The danger was un- 
doubtedly real. Cf. Ompteda's dispatch and Ministry's reports to king 
in no. 1126a, I, passim. {Hanover Archives.) 


There was no reason to doubt that the French govern- 
ment maintained its hostile attitude toward the German 
lands of the King of England. To the delay in giving the 
Gegen-Erkldrung was now added the further source of 
uneasiness mentioned above — the violations of the De- 
marcation Line. 

Here it may be well to call up what some may deem a 
** neglected factor " in the history of the period — the 
attitude of the Elector himself. It is in the way he treats 
this real danger to the Electorate that George III. shows 
how much his view of things continental is that of an 
English king rather than that of a minor German prince. 
He will not be hurried in the removal of the objectiona- 
ble Dutch, English and emigre troops. He seems to 
consider the danger from France more imaginary than 
real, and he distrusts Prussia thoroughly.' One royal 
rescript of this period still further illustrates this insular 
English attitude assumed by King George. The Re- 
gency in Hanover was thoroughly alarmed by the re- 
ports^ from their envoy in Berlin, von Lenthe, and so, 
at the suggestion of the magistrates of Bremen,^ they 
timidly proposed to their sovereign that their Electorate 
negotiate directly in Paris for its own neutrality.'^ To 
this appeal the King-Elector answered with a largeness 
of spirit justified by his own location, that he would not 
approve a special treaty with the French until all other 
measures had failed. ^ 

^Rescript of Sept. 25, 1795. {Hanover Archives, no. 1130.) 
'^Despatch of Sept. 12, 1795, no. 546. {Hanover Archives.) 

* Sept. 29, 1795, no. 1130. Bremen was at this time occupied by Eng- 
lish and Hanoverians. Subject of complaint by both French and Prus- 

* October i, 1795, no. 1130. {Hanover Archives.) 

* Rescript of October 20, 1795, no. 1130. 


What the measures might be, what the ultimate de- 
cision would be, rested less with the King-Elector, less 
with his ministry in Hanover, than it did with the power 
which had pledged itself to take Hanover in possession, 
if it did not so act as to relieve France from all fear of 
attack from that side. The mere acquiescence in the 
terms of the treaty of Basel did not fulfill the terms of 
agreement between Prussia and France. Hardenberg 
did not fail to point out this distinction between ac- 
knowledging the peace and promising to observe its 
terms. ^ Much as Prussia's freedom from complications 
with France depended on its ability to control Hanover, 
its claim to the confidence of all the smaller states and 
of its former allies depended equally on its control- 
ing it without resorting to the extreme measure of oc- 

The source of the French discontent, as has been men- 
tioned, was the remnant of English and Hanoverian 
troops in and around the town of Stade, the collection 
of a Dutch and French emigrant corps at Osnabriick and 
the occupation of Hamburg and Bremen. The reluc- 
tance with which the Elector-King moved in the matter 
of dispersing these camps might well justify French fears 
that these hostile troops were only waiting for some 
marked success of the allies on the Upper Rhine to make 
a forward movement against Holland. The total strength 
of the disturbing forces is estimated at about 11,000 
men, of which 4,500 were English and 3,000 French emi- 
grants.'' The French government, though not over par- 
ticular about seeing that its generals observed the De- 
marcation Line, insisted on the strict neutrality of the 

^ Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 329, 330. 

'^R. 67, B. 18a, vol. I, p. 56. {Berlin Archives.) 


states behind it. The Committee of PubHc Safety held 
that their interests in Holland were so much endangered 
by the contumacy of the Electorate that they must take 
it on themselves to bring Hanover by force of arms to a 
less belligerent attitude.^ With the forward movement 
of their troops the subject became of still greater import 
to the French, and Prussian occupation was again urged 
as the only measure consonant with Prussian honor and 
at the same time satisfactory to the French.'' 

All this pressure, but without any mention of the se- 
cret articles of the treaty of Basel,^ was passed on by 
Haugwitz and the Prussian ministry to Hanover by way 
of Ompteda, the Elector's representative at Berlin. 
Knowing the close relations between the electoral courts 
of Hanover and Saxony, the latter power was moved by 
Prussia to make a most pressing appeal to Hanover to 
observe the neutrality in full.^ King Frederick William 
n. and his ministry were bending every energy to extri- 
cate themselves gracefully from the predicament in which 
they were put by their obligation to force Hanover into 
neutrality when the relations between the two powers 
did not justify such action. For, as Ranke points out, 
the relations between Prussia and France were depend- 
ent on the Prussian ability to protect the French in Hol- 
land from an attack on the side of Hanover.^ 

^Committee to Barthelemy, Aug. 22, 1795. Bart., vol. 5. 

'^Committee to Bart., Sept. 10. vol. v, p. 450. 

^The secret articles of Basel were not known in Hanover until 
May, 1799. Wohlwill in Hist. Zeit., 1884, 402. 

^Report of the Han. Ministry to King, Sept. 27, 1795, No. 1130. 
{^Hanover Archives. ) On Saxony's policy in this period the reader is 
referred to Paul Hassell's article " Kursachsen und der Baseler Frieden, 
1794-95," in Neues Archiv fur sdchsische Geschichte, Vol. XH (1891), 
and to Friederich's study, Politik Sachsens, 1801 bis 1803 in the Leip- 
ziger Studien aus dent Gebiet der Geschichte, vol. iv, pt. iii. 

* Ranke, Hardenberg, i, ZZ'^' 


By the first of September the matter had become of 
prime importance to Prussia. The French had begun 
late in August the long-delayed forward movement. The 
vigor and success of their movements, the well-knov^^n 
independence in action of the French generals and their 
annoyance at the presence of English and Dutch troops 
on what they considered English territory that should 
not have been neutralized, the ruthless disregard the 
armies manifested for the Demarcation Line, the threats 
of the Committee of Public Safety, all these considera- 
tions might well have roused King Frederick William 
II. His personal interest^ in having the danger to the 
Electorate presented once more to the Regency at Han- 
over led to a proposal, signed by both Haugwitz and von 
Alvensleben, to send Wilhelm Christian von Dohm, the 
Prussian agent in Halberstadt, post haste to Hanover.'' 
The proposition was at once approved by the king. 

The instructions given the man who was chosen as ca- 
pable of stirring the Hanoverian ministry to action are 
significant. Rightly read, they again emphasize the fact 
that Prussian policy was determined, in the first decade 
after Frederick the Great, not so much by a Hertzberg, 
a Haugwitz or a Hardenberg as by the geography of its 
scattered domains, especially those lying v/est of the 

^Note in king's own hand to Lecoq, dated Sep. 8. Cf. Berlin 
Archives, sup. cit. 

^Note is endorsed by the king, Sept. lo, 1795. It embodies a draft of 
the instructions. The king again urges haste. V. Dohm had been sent 
to Hanover by Frederick the Great (May, 1785) to urge Hanover to 
send a delegate to Berlin to arrange the basis of the Fiirstenbund. Cf. 
von D ohm's Denkwicrdigkeiten, iii, TZ ff« 

^ See a forceful paragraph in Max Duncker's review of Ranke's 
Hardenberg, Preuss. Jahrbucher, vol. xlii, 570. 

Perhaps more to the point are the following significant words in the 


At the opening of the instructions the Hanoverian 
ministry are in all justice reminded that the very neu- 
trality they were violating had been arranged at their 
request. The introduction of Article XI. into the treaty 
of Basel is asserted to have been the direct result of the 
Hanoverian note of March 2, 1795.' Nor was this the 
limit of Prussia's exertions. She had stopped the for- 
ward movement of the triumphant armies of the Repub- 
lic, before which the English and Hanoverian generals 
despaired of making a defense in the spring of 1795. 
The return for all this is Hanover's continued occupa- 
tion of Ritzbuettel, Cuxhaven and Bremen, and allowing 
the English to gather Dutch troops on Hanoverian soil 
— and this despite Hanover's ''remarkable answer" ac- 
quiescing in the peace. Now Prussia, continued von 
Dohm's instructions, could not longer tolerate a condi- 
tion which threatened the safety of her own states. If 
Hanover does not act, Prussian troops will be sent in to 
make an end to this assembling of foreign soldiers, or 
the Demarcation Line will be re-arranged to protect 
Prussian territory alone. Prussia has no intentions hos- 

Prussian reply of May 10 to Caillard's note of April 26, 1795 (see 
Hausser, ii, 71): " il est presque superfiu d'observer que ce n'est 
qu'en faveur de ses propres £tats que le Rol est entre dans les susdites 
stipulations (concerning neutrality and the Demarcation Line) ; que 
c'est uniquement leur repos, leur siirete parfaite pendant la duree de la 

guerre actuelle, qu'il avait en vue a cet egard Si d'autres 

pays de rAllemagne en profitent, c'est leur situation topographique 
qui en est la seule cause, puis qu'ils se trouvent comme enclaves dans 
ces memes Etats." Bailleu, i, 68, footnote i. 

^ In this article France promises to accept the good offices of Prussia 
for those states of the Empire which desire to negotiate with France. 
France for a period of three months from ratification of the treaty will 
not treat as enemies the states on the right bank of the Rhine for whom 
the king intercedes. It is this last part which, as has been before 
mentioned, was the subject of the Hanoverian note of March 2. 


tile to Hanover's august ruler, but they must insist that 
the French should be given no occasion "for the least 
shadow of suspicion."' 

A week later von Dohm was in Hanover, busy with 
ministerial conferences. The ministry there had already 
been urging on the king of England the necessity of 
his German lands complying with the Prussian-French 
demands. They were duly impressed with the serious- 
ness of the alternatives offered by von Dohm, but they 
were not so humble as might have seemed desirable to 
the Berlin ministry. One man, at least, put up an ener- 
getic protest against French interference in affairs be- 
hind the Demarcation Line. Rudloff, the Regency's 
secretary and adviser, expounded, in oppositon to von 
Dohm's representations, the view that all the treaty of 
Basel promised on behalf of the neutral states was that 
no offensive measures should proceed from behind the 
Demarcation Line. That is to say, if Hanover wished 
to gather troops as a defensive measure, it was no affair 
of the French Committee of Public Safety.^ Rudloff 
even assumed a belligerent tone, and spoke about not 
fearing the French troops that might attempt an inva- 
sion. This view, that the Electorate was at liberty to 
take any measures it might deem defensive, coincides 
with the stand the Hanoverian ministry took in the 
opening conferences. And there was a show of justice 
in the view that his own troops within his own Electo- 
rate should be at the disposal of the King-Elector. But, 
as the course of this monograph shows, this was but an- 

^The instructions are dated Sept. ii, and von Dohm is told not to 
qualify them in any way, and he is to demand a categorical answer. 

^ For the French view of their right to interfere behind the line 
established by their consent cf. Napoleon's instructions to Beurnpji- 
ville in Dec, 1799, Bailleu, i, p. 518. 


other instance when neither the King-Elector nor the 
Regency in Hanover were determining factors. Prussia 
had most at stake. 

George III. on September 25 sent the necessary orders 
for the expulsion of the emigrant and other corps, and 
the Regency hastened to execute them.' This news and 
the Regency's assurance that Hanover would never 
allow any hostile demonstration to proceed from behind 
the Demarcation Line, and would evacuate the Hansa 
towns, "" was considered satisfactory at Berlin, and von 
Dohm left Hanover. Not until at the command of the 
Berlin ministry he had stated clearly that Prussia did 
not, now that Hanover's army was dismissed, assume to 
guarantee the neutrality of the Electorate. ^ Despite the 
explicitness of von Dohm — and he could be explicit 
when it was necessary — Rudloff insisted to the end that 
Prussia's guarantee of Hanover's neutrality should come 
as a substitute for the military measures now abandoned. 
And Rudloff evidently came to believe that Prussia had 
done what he demanded,^ for in the following spring it 
is his obstinate insistence, at least it is the insistence of 
the Hanoverian Regency on this view, that delays the 
organization and provisioning of the Observation Army.^ 

The King-Elector's proclamation as to the expulsion 

^ King's rescript in no. 1130 {Han. Archs.). 

* Note verbale handed in by von Ompteda at Berlin, Oct. 2, 1795. 
This was despatched from Berlin to Hardenberg in Basel that he might 
answer Barthelemy and the French government satisfactorily. Berlin 
Archives vol. cited above. 

•'See instructions to v. Dohm, October 9, and his report of Oct. 18. 

*See von Dohm's report of Oct. 3. {Berlin Archives, as above). 

°It ends in a rupture of the personal relations between von Dohm and 
Rudloff, two men too nearly alike in mind and training ever per- 
manently to agree. 


of his English troops and the auxiliary corps of French 
and Dutch had been obtained in haste. It was executed 
at leistire. The unwillingness with which the king of 
England saw himself forced to do as France, speaking 
through Prussia, desired, is partially shown in this dila- 
toriness in doing what he had promised. As late as 
December a majority of the English troops were still in 
Hanover. The French were still suspicious and watch- 
ful.^ Prussia was urgent. As the pressure was increased, 
as the terror was more or less vividly conjured up by 
von Dohm, the embarcation of troops would be hast- 
ened. Then it would grow slack, and the English trans- 
ports would fail to be on hand. As late as February, 
1796, there were still English officers in Bremen.^ 

The seriousness of the situation in the fall of 1795 
gave occasion, in connection with von Dohm's mission, 
for an exhibition of the strong particularism still pre- 
vailing in the pricipalities and counties composing the 
Electorate. The slowness of the Regency in conforming 
to the stipulated neutrality can be traced to but one 
definite source — the reluctance of the king to remove 
troops that might later be useful to the allied cause. 
The Hanoverians, loyal as they were to their distant 
sovereign, were alive to the dangers they ran by allow- 
ing the Stadtholder to recruit within their borders, and 
by Hanover's general neglect of neutrality in the face of 
such a ready and suspicious enemy as France.^ Von 

^Delacroix to Barthelemy, Dec. 10, 1795. Barthelemy, v, 517. 

^ Reports of Prussian envo}'- in Bremen (v. Rump) at the end of vol- 
ume cited above in Berlin Archives. 

^ The Hanoverian troops were put on a half mobile footing and so dis- 
posed, partly toward Hessen and partly toward Westphalia, that they 
could be readily (within 48 hrs.) concentrated on either frontier. The 
staff ofificers were simply furloughed. Reports Dec. 15 and 17, 1795 in 
1126a I {Han. Archives) . 


Dohm felt encouraged at the expressions of the leading 
officials of Calenberg and Lueneberg. They seemed to 
feel grateful for Prussia's efforts to ward off danger, and 
in evidence of this were urging prompt action on the 
Regency. The estates of Bremen-Hoye-Diepholz took 
occasion to offer the Regency similar advice. More 
noteworthy is the action of the estates of Calenberg, the 
principality which includes the cities of Hanover and 
Gottingen. The estates had already given proof of their 
independent view of things touching Hanoverian policy. 
In 1794 they had set forth the position of the ''Calen- 
berg Nation" and the "Gottingen Nation" on the sub- 
ject of the attitude to be assumed toward the French 
Revolution. They were still under the dominance of 
von Berlepsch, the agitator who had fathered the resolu- 
tions of 1794. The danger of a French invasion was von 
Berlepsch's opportunity. In a special session (Oct. 31) 
they met in the city of Hanover and passed resolutions 
urging the ministry to ensure the Electorate's safety by 
doing all that strict neutrality required. Not content 
with an urgent presentation of the ministry's duty to 
secure the country's peace and quiet, they ended their 
resolutions with a threat to appeal to the king of Prus- 
sia and the Duke of Brunswick to call the diet of the 
Circle of Lower Saxony. This body might be expected 
to overrule ihe ministry, to the end that Hanover might 
no longer be exposed to danger by being drawn into 
England's struggle with France.' 

But other measures brought forward on a larger stage 
were destined to secure the safety of Hanover and the 

^A copy of their resolutions of Oct. 31, is enclosed by von Dohm 
Dec. 4, 1795. It was given him by a member of the estates under 
promise of secrecy. Cf. Berlin Archives, R. 67, B. 18 a. vol. i. 


neutrality policy of Prussia. Several years later (1799) 
Haugwitz, in a resume of Prussian policy since 1794, said 
that the treaty of Basel only definitely established peace 
between France and Prussia — "all the rest was conditional 
(hypothetique)." We need not stop here to consider 
whether Haugwitz thought in May, 1795, that the treaty 
of Basel and the '' convention additionelle" were wholly 
conditional or was brought to that view by French and 
Austrian disregard for his cherished Demarcation Line. 
In either case the conviction that the work of Hardenberg 
and Barthelemy was not a finality must have come early. 
The interested German states had no sooner accepted 
the proffered neutrality than the cabinet at Berlin, began 
hinting at Paris that it would be well to negotiate a new 
line. Shortly afterwards the project of a composite 
army to defend the line was suggested at the different 
courts of North Germany. 

To the negotiations leading up to the French-Prussian 
treaty of August 5, 1796, and to the Prussian-Hanoverian 
agreement resulting in the formation of an Observation 
Army the following chapter will be devoted. With the 
establishment of a new demarcation line and an army to 
make it respected, we may begin to speak of neutrality 
as "a system." 


Founding Neutrality as a System 

The hopes of an Imperial peace, for which Prussia's 
treaty with France at Basel was to have been the introduc- 
tion, had gradually faded during the summer and fall of 
1795;^ the worthy ambition of Frederick William II. to fig- 
ure as a prince of the peace had come to naught. As was 
pointed out in a preceding chapter, the king had expected 
to profit from the general demand for peace, and to prove 
by the success of his own negotiations with France that 
he was the proper person to mediate between the Re- 
public and the rest of Europe. Thus, on the unsteady 
foundation of his neighbors' patronage, the king had 
hoped to restore the influence of Prussia, not only in 
German, but also in the wider field of European politics. 
Instead of the expected plaudits, he had heard himself 
denounced by his former allies as a base betrayer of the 
common cause and the disrupter of the old Empire. 
While Europe thus looked askance at the statesmanship 
which was guiding the Prussian policy, the emissaries of 
Austria were busy within the Empire, arousing suspicion 
everywhere by dwelling on Prussia's alleged session of 
the left bank of the Rhine. Thus, despite all the let- 
ters and conferences of Hardenberg,^ a large number of 

^ Hausser, ii, 45. Hardenberg acknowledges the failure in his farewell 
note to Barthelemy, Dec. 9, 1795. Barthelemy, v, 518. 

''The Austrian view of Hardenberg's activity in Vivenot, Herzog 
Alhrecht von Sachsen-Teschen, ch. on ^^Baseler Friede." 

557] 119 


the minor German States were made so distrustful of 
Prussia's motives that they declined to ask her mediation 
with France in their own or the Empire's behalf. It was 
evident that Francis II. at the head of the moribund Em- 
pire still occupied the place of vantage in Germany over 
the head of the Fiirstenbund.^ 

When we turn from the situation in Europe and the 
German Empire to the still narrower field bounded by 
the first Demarcation Line, we find matters no more 
encouraging ; for the territory within the cordon of 
neutrality had proved more than Prussia could protect. 
The early violation of the line by both French and Aus- 
trian forces had led Prussia to abandon that part of the 
neutralized territory around Frankfort on the Main''; to 
her inability to bring about a peace on behalf of the 
states not neutralized she had now added the failure to 
protect those which had manifested their faith in her by 
seeking the protection of her neutrality. The situation 
of affairs was such that the Prussian cabinet could not 
with safety or propriety long delay in finding either a 
way to continue the neutrality arranged at Basel or some 
proper substitute for the policy there inaugurated. 

The consideration of any new policy on the part of 
Prussia, directs our eyes at once to the situation in Paris 
after the treaty of Basel. Since the spring of 1795, the 
party of aggression had gained the ascendency in France^ 

^ On this struggle between Austria and Prussia to control public 
opinion, ^/. Vivenot, sup, cit., chapter on ' ' Die offentliche Meinung 
zur Zeit des Baseler Friedens." 

'^ October 26, 1795, Bailleu, i, 29. For Lucchesini's version of this 
violation see [Schladen], Mitt. a. d. nachgelassenen Papieren eines 
Preuss. Dipiomaten, 341, 342. (Berlin, 1868.) "Je n'ai jamais rien 
espere de la ligne de demarcation." 

^Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 2)Z7 ff« 

^2q] neutrality as a system 121 

and sweeping on in the full tide of aroused national feel- 
ing, had passed, as the last great act of the convention, a 
resolution to make the Rhine a French boundary. This 
meant war — a great struggle, not the hoped-for peace. 
It meant to Prussia the definite loss of her provinces on 
the west bank of the Rhine, whose final disposition had 
been postponed at Basel until the general pacification. 
The party of the moderates in France had been silenced 
by the cannon of Napoleon in the streets of Paris, and 
with the disappearance of that party disappeared the 
hope of a general peace. The triumph of the aggressive 
party in France endangered the neutrality which Prussia 
had so confidently asked, and even forced, her neighbors 
to accept.^ 

Nor was the outlook any more cheerful viewed from 
the standpoint of Prussia's internal condition. King 
Frederick William II., never the real master of the situa- 
tion, had in the last year or so abrogated more and more 
of his nominal control. His dissipations were beginning 
to tell on an originally powerful frame, and his health 
was on the decline that led to the grave. Madame 
Lichtenau, long content with holding the King's fancy, 

^ Msissenhsich, Memoiren, ii, 195 (Feb., 1796): "An einem seidenen 
Faden hangt das Schicksal d. nordlichen Deutschlands. Wahrschein- 
lich erwarten die Franzosen nur eine Gelegenheit um auf dieser Seite 
loszubrechen, und den Zuvorkommenkrieg zu spielen wie ihn Friedrich 
II. vor vierzig Jahren spielte — und glaubt man etwa, dass die franzo- 
sische Regierung von den erneuerten Vorschlagen des Lord Elgin, 
wovon viele Privatpersonen unterrichtet sein wollen, nicht unterrichtet 
sei? Wird die in Hannover negocirte Anleihe von zwei Millionen 
Thaler der franzosischen Regierung nicht als ein Beweis dargestellt 
werden, dass wir von England aufs Neue Subsidien ziehen? — Hofft man 
etwa, dass dieselbe die Schmahungen desjenigen Staatsministers der den 
Baseler Frieden geschlossen, und der ihn nun seibst verwirft, nicht in 
Erfahrung bringen sollte? — Glaubt man etwa, dass der Citoyen Caillard 
die Rolle eines Taub- und Blindgeborenen in Berlin spiele?" 


now aspired to be the Pompadour of Prussia.* The 
Prussian cabinet was not a unit in regard to the' policy 
to be pursued, and the strife of its factions w^eakened 
confidence in its policies and utterances ; the great class 
interest in privileges of freedom from taxation stood sol- 
idly in the way of any vigorous policy that must neces- 
sarily endanger their exemptions ; the army itself w^as 
more interested in peace than in war — the soldiers pre- 
ferred furloughs to fighting, and the officers were under 
the temptation of the extra money which the furlough 
system put in their purses.^ 

To the question as to what should be done there were 
three evident answers. First, a statesmanship which 
considered the probable result of the situation might 
well have held that the true policy for Prussia was to 
take her place in the states-system of Europe, which was 
now threatened by the revolutionary Republic. Tow^ards 
such a policy of joint action with Prussia's former allies 
the English ambassador pressed King Frederick William 
11. almost constantly, by ofifers of subsidy, while that mon- 
arch had himself come to feel that the patriotism which led 
his advisers and generals to urge on him a peace policy was 
mistaken.3 A second plan was to abandon the mainte- 

' In a despatch of Nov. 19, 1797, Lord Elgin, writing from Berlin, 
gives an interesting account of conditions at the court of King Freder- 
ick William II., during his last days. He dates Madame Lichtenau's 
new ambition back to a trip to Italy in the summer of the preceding 
year, when she had learned about Louis XIV. and Louis XV. {Eng. 
Rec. Office.) 

^Cf. Bailleu in Hist. Zeit., 1895. 

^Lord Elgin says of a conversation he had just had, "One of the 
many pieces of information which Prince Hohenlohe gave me in the 
course of the visit was that the king personally had long been in the 
belief that England had really been desirous of counteracting him in the 
war against France and attributed to this cause even the bad success of 


nance of neutrality for all North Germany, and simply ex- 
tend a protecting cordon around Prussia's own states. But 
this way meant danger and disgrace ; for Prussia's West- 
phalian lands were so enclaved that the surrounding ter- 
ritory must be neutralized and guarded. Otherwise she 
would have denied, not the responsibilities of any fore- 
ordained mission, but the veriest duty arising from the 
position of her own provinces. Lastly, the policy begun 
at Basel still offered possibilities.' The opportunism 
which had governed Prussia's policies pointed towards 
the negotiation of a new demarcation line and the organ- 
ization of a force to defend it. This successfully accom- 
plished, Haugwitz might consider himself as the founder 
of neutrality as a "system." The peace of Basel would 
then fall into an honorable place as the first step toward 
v/ithdrawing North Germany from the ravages of war. 
Neutrality assured, Prussia could husband her resources 
and secure indemnification for her territorial losses in the 
struggle just closed. This course of diplomatic specula- 
tion it was into which Hertzberg, Haugwitz and Har- 
denberg in turn steered the Prussian state/ 

the operations in 1794, and that it was only within these few days that 
he had been undeceived in this important point. That the king was 
now convinced of the nature of the proceedings under Marechal Mollen- 
dorflf and that disregard was paid to his orders not from motives of 
treachery, but from impressions of false patriotism on the part of those 
who directed the campaign." Elgin's despatch of Feb. 23, 1796. \jEng. 
Rec. Office.^ 

^ The three possibilities, as Haugwitz viewed them from the stand- 
point of 1796, are given in a conversation with Caillard. Cf. latter's 
report of March 26, 1796, Bailleu, i, 437, 438. 

'^ Cf. Max Duncker in Preuss. Jahrbucher, 39, 571. The Austrian 
charge, Hudelist, writing in Sept., 1799, says that no answer from the 
Prussian government would give any measure of its intentions, "car 
comment sera-t-il possible tant que sa premiere maxime sera d'agir 
selon les circonstances?" Bailleu, i, 557. 


Hardenberg, who had remained in Basel awaiting the 
opportunity to negotiate with Barthelemy in behalf of 
the minor states seeking Prussia's mediation, had ex- 
pected the triumph of the moderate party in Paris.' By 
August, 1795, however, it was clear to him that the work 
of the convention additionelle of May 17th was far from 
final. Thus the necessity of either determining a new 
line, or abandoning, by agreement with France the 
attempt to maintain neutrality, was signally evident^ to 
him and to the king, and the latter was only awaiting the 
settlement of affairs in Poland before determining what 
action he would take.^ ' 

Hardenberg's views on the policy to be followed were 
decidedly in favor of vigorous action.^ His birth and 
training as a North German of the Circle of Lower Sax- 
ony, and his clear vision from the standpoint of a Prussian 
statesman, kept his eyes ever on the Lower Rhine as the 
danger point. It was in this region, then, Hardenberg 
thought, that Frederick WilHam must face the French. 
It was the king's duty to oppose them with vigor. 
Make them feel, wrote Hardenberg, that reckless action 
on their part would drive Prussia into open opposition. 
Close action with the circles of Upper and Lower Saxony, 
and a part of Westphalia would, in Hardenberg's opinion, 
make a formidable confederation, on whose behalf Prus- 

^ Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 314-320. 

^Bailleu, i, 18. 

^ Ibid,, i, 20. 

* Hardenberg to king, Dec. 5, 1795. Bailleu, i, 34 ff. In the inac- 
curate and garbled account of the neutrality policy given in the Memoires 
d'un homme d'etat, iii, 374 ff, and 222-225, Hardenberg is credited with 
the idea of a new demarcation line. Haugwitz, it is said, took up the 
idea and tried to get rid of the originator by sending him on a mission 
to Lower Saxony. As will be seen later, it was on this mission (?) 
that Hardenberg did some very effective work for the neutrality system. 


sia could easily secure from France a recognition of neu- 
trality. Such an arrangement would rescue Hanover 
from its endangered position and Prussia, disregarding 
the rest of the Empire, could then unite around itself the 
North of Germany,^ and make itself a power to be re- 
spected.^ This was the doctrine of an egoistic Prussian 
policy.3 With such a view the hopes of the preceding 
April and May have little in common. Prussia was to 
go forward under the assumption that the Empire was 
dissolved, and that there remained nothing for each state 
except to look after its own interests and safety with 
*' egoistic selfishness" (" egoistischer Eigennutz ").'^ 

The current of events in the fall of 1795 gave force to 
Hardenberg's suggestions. The relief felt in Berlin 
at the success of von Dohm's mission to Hanover in 
September, 1795, could have been but short. The 
French complaints about the troops, emigrant, Dutch 
and English, on Hanoverian soil, were as vigorous as 
those which had been made before Harden^berg told Bar- 
thelemy of Hanover's acquiescence. ^ Furthermore, 
French promises to observe the Demarcation Line on the 
side towards Westphalia were of uncertain value with 

' " Et la maison Palatine." 

'^ In the Memo-ires d' un Homme d'Etat, vol. iii, Hardenberg is repre- 
sented as the instigator of von Dohm's mission to Hanover in the fall 
of 1795, and as the Prussian statesman who suggested the second de- 
marcation line and was in general the sponsor for the neutrality of 
Prussia. Cf. e. g., vol. iii, 278-279. 

^See Bailleu's essay in Hohenzollern Jahrbuch for 1897. He gives 
some suggestions for the interpretation of this period of Prussian history. 

* Transliteration of Haugwitz's words to von Ompteda. See latter's 
despatch, August 20, 1796, no. 1126a I. [^Han. Archives']. 

^Oct. 12, 1795. Suspicion is very evident in Delacroix's letter to 
Barthelemy, Dec. 10, 1795. Barthelemy, v, 517. 


the Jacobin party in the ascendant ;' and with the prom- 
ise was coupled a disagreeable condition, to the effect 
that the king of Prussia must assume full responsibility 
for the dispersion of hostile forces in either Hanover or 

Though not ready to go to the extreme measure men- 
tioned in the secret articles of the convention addition- 
elUy^ the ministry at Berlin felt the necessity of some 
sort of assurance that France meant to observe the 
neutrality of Hanover. ^ The Electorate itself had long 
clamored for a " Gegen-Erklarung " from France, after 
the Hanoverian proclamation accepting the Demarcation 
Line, and even if the war fever in Paris should abate, ^ the 
generals of the French armies were still thought insubor- 
dinate enough to be dangerous. 

Prussia would have been willing to continue its nego- 
tiations through Hardenberg at Basel. The French gov- 
ernment, however, had brought it about that Caillard was 
to represent them more directly at the court of Berlin. 

^Hardenberg to the king, Dec. 5, 1895 {sup. cit.). 

^ That is, to take Hanover en depot. This is the time when, accord- 
ing to Vivenot, the periodicals under Prussian control were preparing 
public opinion for Prussian annexation of Hanover. See his evidence 
in Herzog Albrecht von Sachsen-Teschen, ii, pt. 2, 328 ff. He goes on 
to assert that a greater share of the Hanoverian statesmen were in 
Prussian pay, and that the University of Gottingen was an efficient 
Prussian instrument in moulding Hanoverian opinion. The main value 
of Vivenot' s work is that it shows how men of that time, as well as of 
a later, might put a hostile construction upon the Prussian actions and 
thus stir up such distrust in otherwise friendly courts as to control their 
actions and thus react on what was done and said at Berlin. 

'' Cf. instructions to Sandoz-Rollin, Dec. 25, 1795. Bailleu, i, 40. 
Hardenberg' s distrust of the Jacobin regime finds free expression in his 
letter to the king on Dec. 5, 1795. Cf. Bailleu, i, 2>^. 

* Sandoz-Rollin, the Prussian minister in Paris, reports Dec. 28, 179S, 
that there is in Paris a strong demand for peace. Bailleu, i, 41. 


Among other reasons suggested for their insistence on 
having a representative near the person of the king, was 
the suspicion that Hardenberg was not transmitting their 
protests against Hanoverian violations of neutrality/ 
Under obligations to send a representative to Paris, 
Frederick William selected Freiherr von Sandoz-Rollin, 
formerly ambassador to Spain. As in the sending of 
Caillard, so in the instructions of Sandoz, the position of 
Hanover was made a matter of special mention. As far 
as material at hand allows one to judge, ^ Sandoz's most 
positive duty was to secure a direct acknowledgment of 
the oft-violated Demarcation Line, and thus insure Han- 
over and North Germany against French incursions ; the 
importance which Prussia attached to such an acknowl- 
edgment is attested by the insistence with which Sandoz 
is directed to press the matter. ^ 

The French Directory itself was not of one mind on the 
attitude to be assumed toward the Prussian insistence on 
the recognition of the neutrality of North Germany. 
The general feeling plainly stated was that the French 
had been more hampered than helped by a line which 
limited their operations in the South and sheltered their 
enemies in the North. If it were an advantage to Prus- 
sia to secure the neutrality of Westphalia and Hanover, 
it was a neutrality the French proposed to sell at the 
highest price. The condition sine qua non of a new 
agreement was the Prussian recognition of the French 
right to the territory on the west bank of the Rhine. 
Even with that condition complied with, the situation of 

^The archives at Berlin show this suspicion baseless. 

* Summary of instructions in Hiififer, Diplomatische Verhandlungerii 
i, 229. 

^Dec. 25, 1795, and January 29, 1796. See documents in Bailleu, i, 


Hanover was one that Rewbell and Delacroix, though 
favorable to the Demarcation Line as far as Westphalia 
was concerned, viewed as on a different footing. The 
military members of the Directory (Carnot and Aubert- 
Dubayet), backed up by the reports of General Jourdan, 
did not wish to grant anything till the plans of the cam- 
paign were settled/ To the French the Electorate was 
ever a means of striking England. Its possession might 
work an exchange that would restore to them some of 
their colonial possessions;^ or, better yet, it might be 
used as a bait with which they could draw Prussia into 
difficulties with the Empire ^ and with the crown of Eng- 

As it became more and more certain that the Republic 
was entering on a great struggle, the Directory, influ- 
enced by the military party, hesitated to agree to a line 
that might conflict with Jourdan's plans. ^ Hanover was 
again the particular stumbling-block. While that Elec- 
torate was delaying Prussian plans for its defense, the 

^Sandoz, Jan. 12, 1796, in Bailleu, i, 45. Hiijffer, i, 300, is evidently 
using the same material. 

^Delacroix suggests the Vv^indward Islands. Bailleu, i, 45. 

^They demanded that Austria acknowledge the line. Bailleu, i, 59. 
Frederick William writes, Feb. 6, to his ministry: "Die Griinde und 
die Anerbietungen des Herrn Caillard sind wenig stichhaltig; es scheint 
man will nur Zeit gewinnen und uns mit ganz Europa veruneinigen." 
Hiiffer, i, 300. See also Massenbach, Memoiren, ii, 219, 220. 

*Sandoz, Jan. 18, 1796: "... chaque jour le ministre Delacroix me tient 
un nouveau langage sur cette neutralite; avant hier il soutenait par ex. 
que I'electorat de Hanovre ne devait pas inspirer autant d'interet a 
V. M. qu'elle le manifestait; que c'etait du demembrement meme de 
celui-ci qu'elle trouverait un jour des arrondissements convenables a ses 
Etats; enfin que V. M. ne pouvait pas vouloir affaiblir les moyens de 
pacification de la Republique frangaise en comprimant ses avantages . . . '* 
Bailleu, i, 46. 

^ Bailleu, i, 59. 


French were muttering threats against its independent 

The state of the negotiations in Paris made it impera- 
tive that the Prussian government should take into con- 
sideration the possibility of a rejection of the line pro- 
posed as a substitute for that negotiated at Basel. Haug- 
witz was the royal adviser who saw clearly the calamitous 
consequences of the failure of the negotiations. He had 
staked his whole policy on a successful effort to escape 
the importunities of the allies and the overtures of alli- 
ance made by the French. With a clearness of insight 
and a firmness of purpose which does not always distin- 
guish his policies or their execution/ Haugwitz turned 

^Bailleu, i, 58. 

^Kriidener, after stating the views of King Frederick V/illiam III., in 
1801, gave the following sketch of Haugwitz: '* Quant a son ministere, 
personne n'y a assez de caractere pour avoir un systeme a soi, ni assez 
d'ascendant pour faire prevaloir son systeme, s'il en avait. Le comte 
Haugwitz, ni pacifique, ni guerroyant, ni Anglais, ni Frangais, ni Autri- 
chien, n'est que ce qui convient a un ministre qui craint les embarras. 
Si son Maitre aimait la guerre il serait le plus intrigant et le plus am- 
bitieux des ministres. II n'a que des demi-volontes." F. Martens, 
Receuil des Traitis conclus par la Russie, vi, 297, 298, also pp. 258 and 
266 for views of Repnin and Panin, both former Russian ministers in 
Berlin. Sieyes refers to him as " le ministre des ajournements." Cf. 
Bailleu, i, 483. Of all the diplomats, English, Austrian, Saxon, Han- 
overian, French and Russian, whose utterances, printed or unprinted, 
have come under my eye, I think Caillard, the French ambassador in 
Berlin from Oct., 1795, to June, 1798, is the only one who consistently 
speaks of Haugwitz with favor. [C/., e. g,, Bailleu, i, 439 and 469.] 
One ought possibly to add the Bavarian, Bray. While himself regret- 
ting Haugwitz 's retirement in 1804, Bray speaks of the general satis- 
faction among the diplomats at Haugwitz's disappearance. His slack- 
ness and neglect had brought Haugwitz into bad repute. Cf. Bray's 
account of Haugwitz's retirement in Bailleu, ii, 624, 625, and in Bray's 
memoires, published under the title, Aus dem Leben eines Diplomaten 
der alien Schule (Leipzig, Hirzel, 1902). This monograph has in no 
sense attempted a rehabilitation of Haugwitz or a defense of his policy. 
The aim is simply to show the policy in the light in which it appears 
when approached from a point of view of a minor North German state. 


energetically to the consideration of the means which 
were to save Prussian neutrality if the line was rejected, 
and which in any case would make the line respected by 
the not-too-scrupulous generals and statesmen of the 
Republic. The frequent violations of the neutrality ar- 
ranged in May, 1795, had taught that something more 
than sign-posts decorated with the Prussian eagles must 
be put to mark the border line.^ Haugwitz now turned 
to the idea of the organization of an Observation Army, 
formed and supported by the North German states who 
shared the benefits of Prussia's neutrality. It is only by 
giving due consideration to the policy of neutrality from 
its military side, and with special reference to Prussia's 
relations during the period to the minor German states, 
that one can obtain a fair estimate of Count Haugwitz 
as the responsible royal adviser in the years 1 795-1 803. 
Regarded from that point of view, neutrality seems a 
vigorous policy,^ bearing within itself great possibilities 
for the future of North Germany and Prussia, if that 
state but justified the confidence she had asked of her 
neighbors. When to the neutrality arranged by treaty 
Prussia had added a respectable military force that prom- 
ised a blow for every infringement, then we may speak 
of a policy worthy a historian's consideration. When 
the Duke of Brunswick, with such men as Bliicher, Wall- 
moden and Scharnhorst as his lieutenants, had assumed 
command of an army of 40,000 soldiers, drawn from the 
greater states of North Germany and supported by the 
joint action of all the neutralized states legislating in a 
special congress called for that purpose, then we have 

^ ** Of what good is a neutrality that is not armed? " inquired Haber- 
lin in his Staatsarchiv . Cf. vol. iii, 48 (footnote). 

^ See Massenbach, Memoiren, ii, 218-220. He expected that it v/ould 
need to be defended against the Austrians. 


something different from the arrangement in the conven- 
tion addit^onelle■—^N^ have a ''NeutraHtats-System." 
These things Haugwitz saw, and strove to make his 
sovereign see. It is the failure of King William III. 
and his kitchen cabinet, in the years 1798 to 1803", to ap- 
preciate that in those days of stress and strain, neutrality 
was not a self-enforcing system, that the army must cast 
its lengthened shadow over diplomatic negotiations, that 
the sign of the sword alone made treaties binding — it is 
the failure of the king to stand firm in dealing with the 
blustering Czar Paul or the ruthless Napoleon that has 
relegated the Haugwitzian policy and its author to the 
limbo of great failures. 

Whatever may have been the weaknesses of neutrality 
as a policy, its chief exponent cannot be accused of a 
failure to realize the necessity of making it effective. 
The idea of an army to defend the neutrality of states 
who wanted to keep free from the great contest had 
early received attention.^ The uncertain attitude of the 
French statesmen and generals towards a strict observ- 
ance of neutrality gave it new life.^ Haugwitz became its 
exponent, 3 and without the knowledge of his colleagues,'* 

^ Cf. chapter II. 

^One should also notice the firmer tone in the directions to Sandoz 
about this time, e. g., Jan. 29th, in Bailleu, i, 45, and similar expres- 
sions to the diplomatic corps in Berlin. Ibid., 529. But Prussia did 
not mean to carry matters to a point of war. Cf. Caillard's report, 
Feb. 27, of conversation with Haugwitz, ibid., i, 437. 

^ Ibid,, i, 49. 

*Von Alvensleben in a memoir dated Oct. i, 1797, reviews the 
events after the treaty of Basel. In speaking of the king's action of 

Feb. 15, 1796, he says: *' (je suppose par les conseils de S. Exc. 

M. le Comte Haugwitz, le departement n'en ayant eu aucune connais- 
sance avant) ." Bailleu, i, 150-151. Haugwitz was further ham- 
pered by the great pressure then being exerted by England and Russia 


and against the sharp opposition of the French party in 
Berlin, whose head and front was the King's uncle, 
Prince Henry of Prussia, brother of Frederick the Great,^ 
King Frederick William II. was induced by Haugwitz to 
send a circular note to the North German states shel- 
tered by the neutrality arrangement.^ These notes, of 
February 15 and 16, 1796, give no open hint in their ac- 
count of negotiations at Paris that there is overshadow- 
ing danger of failure. The minor states are urged to 
relieve the situation by the strict enforcement of neu- 
trality. Mention is made of the new line which is being 
negotiated, and, in a conclusion especially adapted to 
each state addressed, it was inquired what they could do 
to make certain the execution of the stipulations con- 
cerning the new line.^ 

The note to the Duke of Brunswick is the one which 
most clearly reveals the seriousness of the situation. 

through their respective representatives, Lord Elgin and Kalistchev. 
Cf. Lord Elgin's despatches in the E7tg. Rec. Office. Prussia F. O. 
nos. 39, 40, 41. These despatches show Hardenberg and Hohenlohe as 
the most earnest advocates of an Austrian-English-Prussian rapproche- 
ment. Haugwitz is not deaf to offers of subsidies. If this account pre- 
tended to be a full treatment of the Prussian policy during the period of 
neutrality I should be obliged to take into account the herculean efforts 
made by England during these years to arouse the Berlin cabinet from 
its retirement. The English archival material for such an account is 
abundant. A glimpse of the diplomatic struggle and cabinet dissensions 
in Berlin in Feb., 1796, may be obtained from the despatches of the 
Austrian ambassador. Count Reuss. Cf. Bailleu, i, 527-528, 532. 

^ His attitude during the negotiations at Basel has already been re- 
ferred to. On this period see Caiilard's report of Jan. 30, 1796, in 
Bailleu, i, 435. 

^ On the same day Struensee, minister of finance, was set the task of 
devising means to raise four or five million (reichsthalers?). Ci, 
Struensee's report of March ist. R. 67, B. 19 a, vol. i. {Berlin 

^ Copies of the notes in above cited volume in the Berlin Archives. 


The letter does not follow the form of the circular note 
closely. Its main consideration is given to the question 
of measures to be adopted — what is to be done if France 
rejects the proposed line? In all frankness the king 
reveals to Charles William Ferdinand "the incalculable 
danger" in which he thinks all North Germany stands if 
the tide of war flows toward the Lower Rhine. To the 
Duke's foresight and patriotism is commended the ne- 
cessity of the Prussian plan of gathering an imposing 
army that shall make neutrality respected. Nor does 
the king wish to see matters delayed till the storm 
breaks. Quietly and without kclat the plans should be 
concerted. Over the whole plan the king of Prussia 
invokes the shadow of legality and Imperial sanction. 
" It only remains to add, that in order to put the neu- 
trality we are considering more surely beyond the possi- 
bility of violation, I am in constant comxmunication with 
the Court of Vienna in order to secure its co-operation.' 
The only unwisdom in this appeal was that it seemed 
to make the execution of a plan, whose failure or success 
meant much to the Prussia of that day, dependent on the 
attitude of a group of minor and dependent states. To 
be obliged to abandon a military measure that should 
efiQciently defend her own possessions and give force to 
her negotiations in Paris, ^ merely because the states of 
Lower Saxony and Westphalia would not aid her, was to 
confess the failure of her own power to initiate vigorous 

^The note to the Duke is dated Feb. 16. On the communication of 
the plan to Austria, cf. Bailleu, i, 529, 530. 

^ Von Ompteda's report of Jan. 26, 1796, ** es scheint hin und wieder 
gewiinscht zu werden, dass der hiesige Hof durch die Zusammenziehung 
einer Armee in dem nordHchen Teutschland unter dem sehr natiirlichen 
Vorwand der Deckung der Neutralitatslinie seinen Negociationen mehr 
Nachdruck und sich selbst mehr Respect verschaffen mogte." 

1 34 HANO VER AND PR USSIA [ ^ ^2 

The replies to the circular note of February 15, 
seemed to indicate that Haugwitz had put Prussia to the 
shame of such a confession. Some accepted the plan 
directly. Of this group Brunswick is the best example. 
Of those who rejected it incontinently none did it in 
language so biting and scourging as the Bishop-Elector 
of Cologne.^ 

The important question was what attitude the Elector 
and Regency of Hanover would assume. Their state 
was not only the one naturally most interested after 
Prussia in keeping the French out of the Westphalian 
region, but its geographical position and financial ability 
to contribute made its action definitive. The Regency 
had known since early in December, 1795, that Prussia 
considered it advisable to keep the Hanoverian troops 
as the Prussian had been kept, in complete readiness 
to act. The safety of North Germany lay then as ever 
in the association of such controlling states as Han- 
over, Saxony, Hesse and Prussia.^ The Hanoverian 
Regency had never lost sight of the uncertain position 
in which they remained as long as the French neither 
observed the neutrality line nor pledged themselves not 
to molest the English king's German lands. So it is not 
surprising that despite their tendency to consider most 
measures as '' bedenklich," the Regency most heartily 
concurred in the plan suggested by Haugwitz. ^ Their 

^ His reply is eloquent in its passionate bitterness and almost convicts 
Prussia of treason to the Empire by the pointed enquiries it directs at 
the Berlin statesmen. The Elector of Cologne had been as bitter in the 
preceding year when the Elector of Hanover had sought peace. Cf. 
Vivenot, Briefe des Freiherrn von Thugut, i, 398, 399. 

' Reports of von Ompteda, Dec. 5, 1795, in Cal. Br. Des. 24 y Bran- 
denhurg-Preussen No. 551. {Hanover Archives.) Haugwitz had 
broached these topics to the Hanoverian envoy. 

^Jan. 2 they write Ompteda that the proposition of Haugwitz deserves 


troops had been kept on a half mobile footing in com- 
plete readiness to take the field, so that when Haugwitz 
through Ompteda'' sounded them as to their attitude to- 
wards the formation of a demarcation army, the idea 
did not come to them as something new, but rather as a 
plan in complete agreement with the measures they had 
taken. ^ It was then, with Hanover's co-operation prac- 
tically assured, that Haugwitz issued his note of Febru- 
ary 15. The Hanoverian reply, which has been so se- 
verely condemned, is far from being the hearty expres- 
sion of support that might have been expected. It 
seems to have been framed with the view of driving a 
good bargain with Prussia when the question of financial 
support should arise. Most vigorously the Regency 
presented all the efforts Hanover had made to conform 
to the treaty of Basel, and that, in view of the Prussian 
failure to obtain a ** Gegen Erkldru7ig^ from the French, 
Prussia herself is the state which should assume the sup- 
port of further protective measures. The tone is what 
might have been expected if we knew that Secretary 
Rudloff had been commissioned to write the reply in 
accordance with his views as expressed to von Dohm in 
the preceding fall.^ But this little display of narrowness 

" alle Aufnahme und eine vollkommene Erheblichkeit. Ihr werdet 
demnach zu erkennen geben dass diesem sehr erleuchteten Gedanken 
der grosseste Beifall von uns ertheilet wird." In 1126a, I. {Hanover 

^Ompteda's report of Jan. 26, 1796. 

^That is, keeping their troops in readiness. It is in their rescript of 
Feb. 3 that they write: ** Die in eurem Bericht von 26. v. M. erwahnte 
Idee von Formirung einer Neutralitats Armee ist uns nicht fremd und 
unbekannt. Es stehet solche mit unserm obigen Auftrag in Verbindung 
und daher werdet Ihr bestens zu beobachten suchen inwiefern solche 
Oder etwas Ahnliches oder Mehreres dorten vielleicht nach und nach 
Ingress finden mochte." Hanover Archives, 1126a, 1. 

'The reply is in the same volume with Haugwitz's note in the Berlin 


did not prevent the Regency from acting in a way more 
consonant with their previous utterances. February 20^ 
Haugwitz was assured by them that fifteen or sixteen 
thousand Hanoverian troops ^ could be mobilized in four- 
teen days to defend the Weser, and communication was 
opened with Saxony to induce her to dispose an equal 
number along the Werre. So convinced were the Re- 
gency by Haugwitz's assurances of the French hostile in- 
tentions, that they asked only to know what was intended 
in the way of common action that they might be pre- 
pared to act, should the French utterances seem am- 
biguous.^ That these utterances were not simply for 
the effect which they might have in Berlin, is proved 
by the Regency's suggestion to King George that 
Hanover propose to Prussia a convention arranging 
their joint defence of the Demarcation Line. 3 On Feb- 
ruary 29, two weeks after Haugwitz's inquiry, they 
agreed to the Prussian plan for a defensive army of 

Archives. The tone of the Hanoverian reply may justify the adjectives 
used by Bailleu, but the policy of Hanover early in 1796 toward the 
Demarcation Army cannot be called '' widerwillig und ablehnend." 
Bailleu, i, xxiv, et seq. Their reply to the note of Feb. 15 is dated Feb. 
26 and is signed by Kielsmanegg, Steinberg and Arnswaldt. The Re- 
gency, in a letter to King George, dated Feb. 25, 1796 \_no. 1126<^, /, 
Hanover Archives'], explains that though firmly in favor of the neutral- 
ity of north Germany, they have thought it better to reply in generali- 
ties and depend on the Prussian negotiations. 

^Probably an over-estimate. Cf. Ma-ssenhsich, Memoiren, ii, 407, for 
an estimate in the preceding year. 

^Regency to von Ompteda in 1126a, I. {Han. Archives.) In a note 
to the king they indicated that Haugwitz was extremely cautious in re- 
vealing his plans for fear France would be '^ brusquirt.*' Regency to 
king, Feb. 4, 1796. 

^ Regency to king, Feb. 25, 1796, in no. 1126a, I. They think such 
an agreement will prevent a Franco-Prussian understanding and draw 
Prussia toward the English system. 


30,000 Prussians and 15,000 Hanoverians under the Duke 
of Brunswick/ In view of the fact that French invasion 
only awaited French interest, the Hanoverian Regency- 
held it absolutely necessary to trust themselves wholly 
to the Prussian court and to arrange matters in conjunc- 
tion with them as they alone were in a position to ward 
off the danger and to give assistance to which their pre- 
vious assurances bound them.'' 

The attitude of King George was slightly less cordial 
towards the idea of a Demarcation Army than was that of 
his ministry in Hanover. ^ He approved in the main, 
throughout these months, the Regency's oft-expressed 
intention of acting with Prussia in case danger from 
France was pressing, but from his broader outlook he 
felt less sure that the French would dare to flout Prus- 
sia by invading Hanover, and deemed it wise not to let 
the leadership in the matter slip too completely into 
Prussia's hands. General Wallmoden-Gimborn was ap- 
pointed commander of the Hanoverian contingent, with 
Major Scharnhorst as his quartermaster-general. ^ All 
further details the king left to the ministry, with oft- 
repeated injunctions to purchase the necessary supplies 
and to keep their promises to Prussia.^ 

^ Regency to von Ompteda in 1126a, I. The ^king of Prussia had 
written a personal letter to Brunswick about his co-operation and the 
Duke, with a view, possibly, of sounding the Regency, wrote to Han- 
over for advice. Regency to king, Feb. 25, 1126a, I. {Hanover.) 

2 1 have followed closely the wording of their despatch to the king, 
dated March 3, 1796. 

^ He (von Lenthe drafts the rescripts) was advising the discussion o! 
united action before he received Haugwitz's note of Feb. 15. Cf. re- 
script of Feb. 19, 1796, in Cal. Br. Des. 11, E. I, no. 1126a, I. 

^Lehmann, Scharnhorst, i, 283. 

^ The King's views are expressed in such rescripts to the ministry as 
those of March. 4 and 11, April 15 and May 3rd. Jacobi-Kloest, the 


This cordial attitude of King George and his advisers 
toward the main idea of the Prussian plan is a pleasing 
oasis in all the aridity of these years, during which Han- 
over is so often the passive object of policies initiated by 
other states. There is a positiveness in the Regency's 
reports about mobilizing troops, appointing commanders 
and establishing headquarters that refreshes because it is 
so un-Hanoverian.^ But ^'' Bedenklichkeiten " could not 
long be wanting. In the early stages of the correspond- 
ence the question of expense and its distribution had 
occurred to the Hanoverian ministry. They were not 
sure but that Prussia was exaggerating the French dan- 
ger,^ while having in mind other objects, ^ and with per- 
sistence the idea recurred that Hanover had a right to 
appeal to Prussia's guarantee of neutrality so long as 
the Regency had promised von Dohm the expulsion of 
the Dutch, English and emigre troops.^ But it is in the 
unwillingness to undertake the expense of supporting 
the Demarcation Army until it could otherwise be pro- 
Prussian ambassador in London, considered the King as most favorably 
disposed toward the Prussian plan. Cf, e. g., report of March 24. 
{Berlin Archives,) He is equally pleased with von Lenthe's conduct. 
Cf. Jacobi's report of April 26, 1796. {Berlin Archives.) 

^ March 30, the ministry sent Haugwitz a detailed statement of the 
composition of their corps of 12,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry with head- 
quarters at Minden (In 1126a, J), Stein was then in Minden as Presi- 
dent of the Westphalian Chamber of War and Domain. Lehmann, 
Stein, i, 176 (Leipzig, 1902). 

^Reports to the King. March 3 and 31. 

^ Regency to Ompteda, March 9, 1796. By this it is likely they meant 
that Prussia had primarily in view the protection of its Western prov- 
inces or the expression of its discontent at the French treatment of the 
Prince of Orange. The Regency's jeport to the king, April 14, shows 
the greatest distrust of Prussia's plan. 

^E. g., Feb. 29, 1796, in a rescript to Ompteda. On this matter see 
chapter iii. 


vided for, that they prepared the greatest difficulty for 
Haugwitz, who, despite the discouraging replies to his 
note of February 15, the failure of Struensee to raise a 
loan and the opposition of his colleagues, had held the 
Prussian king to the plan he had proposed/ 

The question of expense had raised such difficulties 
that, as long as Hanover refused to assume the burden, 
the Prussian troops were unable to move. The man who 
was to command them did not at first seem inclined to 
lessen the uneasiness which the Regency showed. Be- 
tween the death of Frederick the Great and the rise of 
Stein the most influential personality in North Germany 
was Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick.^ 
His advice was sought and followed by Frederick Wil- 
liam HL On the other hand, the position and interests 
of his own lands, together with the moderation of his 
views, gained him the confidence of the smaller states, 
so that at each new move of their more powerful neigh- 
bor they were prone to ask, ''What does the Duke of 
Brunswick think?" When the idea of an Observation 
Corps promised to become a reality there was but one 
choice for its commander.^ All agreed that the Duke of 
Brunswick was the man. 

^On Feb. 21, Alvensleben submitted a memorial arguing against the 
Demarcation Army on the ground of expense. Cf. Bailleu, i, 49 ff. 
Struensee' s failure is shown in his report of March i, where he says 
that he has been able to raise but 1,000,000 (thalers?). Berlin 
Archives, R. 67 B, 19 a, 1. Haugwitz's views are set forth in a 
memorial (unsigned) dated March 3, and bound in this same volume 
in the Berlin Archives. The memorial shows a clear appreciation of 
the crisis that faces not only the system of neutrality but the Prussian 
state itself. 

■^ There is no adequate biography of the duke. See Fitzmaurice, 
Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick: an Historical Study 
(1735-1806). (London, 1901.) 

*The king of England, among others, requested that the Duke be 


The Duke had not been in sympathy with the Prus- 
sian poHcy of neutrality, and when Clerfait's successes in 
the fall of 1795 had given the Imperial cause a brighter 
prospect he urged the allies to offer Prussia increased 
subsidies. What he would have done was to move the 
Hanoverian corps up to the Ems and then have nego- 
tiated with arms in his hands/ But nothing was done, 
and the Duke was left strong in his dissatisfaction with 
the controlling party in Berlin.^ This distrust of the 
Berlin cabinet t|he Duke felt free to express to the Han- 
overian commander, General Freytag.^ The king (Fred- 
erick William H.), he said, means well, but no trust can 
be put in the persons around him. The ministry is weak 
and untrustworthy. Count Haugwitz conducts affairs 
very well at times, but he swings from one side to the 
other. The Duke doubted the reality of the danger 
from the French, and feared the intrigues at court and 
the ministry's constant plans for territorial increase. He 
would take the command if offered him, but that he 
might not be the tool of nations, houses, or men who 
were not bound by treaties, he would, when he knew 
what the army was expected to defend, make his arrange- 
ments directly with the king; for otherwise no depend- 
ence could be put in an arrangement at Berlin. ^ Such 

appointed commander of the Demarcation Army. Cf. copy of Prussian 
reply to Russian protest against the Demarcation Army, dated May 25, 
1796, and enclosed in Lord Elgin's dispatch of that date. {English 
Record Office, For. Office, Prussia, No. 40.) 

^ Cf. Duke's letter to King George, Oct. 29, 1795, conveyed through 
Wallmoden and the Duke of York. {In 1126a, /, Han. Archives.) 

'Duke's letter undated in above package. King George sought to 
have the Duke use his influence in Berlin. King George to General 
Wallmoden, January 19, 1796. 

^Reported by Rudloff, March 5, 1796. {no. 1126a, /.) 

* Letter of the Duke, March 5, 1796. {In 1126a, J.) 


words from the Duke of Brunswick to the Regency in 
Hanover could not but have been seed sown on ground 
well prepared. 

The consent of the French government to the general 
idea of a Demarcation Line given on March 24^ had 
advanced the negotiations but little. The Directory's 
constant recurrence to the definite session of the left 
bank of the Rhine, indemnification for the House of 
Orange by Prussia's seizing Mecklenberg, the adoption 
of the policy of secularization and a Franco-Prussian alli- 
ance, had opened a long and troubled vista of proposi- 
tions and counter-propositions.^ Prussian diplomacy, 
then, had not been successful enough in Paris to justify 
any relaxation in the Prussian efforts to secure the neu- 
trality of North Germany by the organization of an army 
for its defense. Haugwitz was embarked in a policy to 
which his every interest bound him,3 and he pushed it 
with a vigor scarcely characteristic. At a conference 
held ill Magdeburg April 15, he met and discussed the 
situation with the distrustful Duke of Brunswick and 
with Prussia's efficient agent, Christian Wilhelm von 
Dohm. There, presumably, the whole situation was 
canvassed.^ Certain it is that the Duke was brought to 

^ Sandoz-Rollin to Prussian Ministry. Bailleu, i, 60. 
^Hiiffer, i, 301, 302. 

'"La neutralite fut I'ouvrage de Haugwitz, sa gloire, son enfant 
cheri." Haugwitz, Fragment des Memoires, 17. " Je parle de cet 
enfant cheri qui m'a valu ou qui a dii me valoir la benediction de ma 
patrie. Si elle balance a me I'accorder, je la trouve au fond de ma con- 
science," Haugwitz, as quoted in Ranke, Works, 47, 305. See also 
Caillard's despatch in Bailleu, i, 439, 440, and Reuss to Thugut, ibid., 

* The Duke, in view of this conference, had been furnished by the 
Regency with the necessary data as to Hanover's military strength, etc. 
Cf. Regency's reply to Duke's request, April 13, 1796. No. 1126a, /. 


see that there was a real basis for fearmg the French.' 
The Duke now explained to the Regency that what had 
seemed to him suspicious in the actions of the Berlin 
ministry had been the result of viewing externally the 
contending factions. The Duke, too, determined to take 
command of the Demarcation Army if assured of the co- 
operation of Hanover. At a conference in Peine, April 
21, Minister-President Kielsmanegg, of Hanover, and 
the Duke went over the whole ground, differing only 
when it came to the question of supporting the corps 
that the Prussians wished to form.^ Hanover's refusal 
to undertake it even temporarily seemed to the Duke all 
the more to be regretted when one considered the pov- 
erty and slowness of the Circle of Lower Saxony. Con- 
vinced that the king of Prussia was in earnest about the 
proposed measures, the Duke was mildly optimistic about 

^ See protocol of Regency's meeting of April i8th to consider a letter 
from the duke. (In no. 1126a, I.) According to Lord Elgin's despatch 
of Jan. 16-17, 1796, the duke had already consented to assume charge of 
defensive measures. \_English Record Office. '\ Haugwitz, in his Frag- 
ment des Memoires, pp. 53, 54, says of this interview with the Duke: 
" Le Due de Bronsvic qui avait tort peut-etre d'accepter le commande- 
ment en 1792 (mais s'en etant charge il n'aurait pas du le quitter en 
1793) en 1796 se trouvait a sa place. Rappele alors par Frederic Guil- 
laume II. il fut du aux soins de Haugwitz qu'il s'y trouvait, Apres sa 
retraite en 1793 il y eut des froideurs entre le maitre et son ancien mare- 
chal. Le-dernier sans, quitter le service avait cependant I'air d'y avoir 
renonce pour toujours. Les relations qui devaient avoir lieu maintenant 
et naitre du systemede la neutralite du nord de I'Allemagne, semblaient 
de nature a appeler de nouveau le Due de Bronsvic au commandement 
de I'armee. C'etait la pensee du ministre, qui pour cet effet, en se 
menageant une entrevue avec le Due a Magdebourg y parvint a raffer- 
mir la confiance ebranlee. ... A la tete [de] cette armee il fit respecter le 
droit de la neutralite dans toute son etendue." 

^The Duke's report is enclosed in von Dohm's letter of April 23. 
\ Berlin Archives .'] 


the possibilities of getting England and Prussia together/ 
if only Hanover would see its duty. 

Evidently the Haugwitz-Brunswick-von Dohm confer- 
ence at Magdeburg on the 15th had considered an expe- 
dient for securing the steady support of the troops when 
once in the field — that is, the revival of the Diet of the 
Circle of Lower Saxony, which had not met since 1682.^ 
It would be on such a subject that von Dohm's unrivaled 
knowledge of Imperial laws and forms would furnish a 
safe guide. But a still more pressing question considered 
in Magdeburg 3 obscured for the time the interesting ex- 
periment just mentioned. It was determined to send 
von Dohn on another mission to Hanover with the ob- 
ject of convincing the Regency that it was necessary for 
them to do temporarily what the Circle of Lower Saxony 
was to be asked to do for a longer period, that is, furnish 
supplies not only for their own, but for the Prussian 
corps under General Bliicher. 

Von Dohm started for Hanover about the middle of 
April. His previous experience had given him an insight 
into the way of thinking in Hanover, and optimistic though 
he was, he could scarcely have felt unwarranted hope in 
this attempt to get the threatened Electorate to support 
a Prussian corps for three months ; for there still pre- 
vailed in Hanover the view that Prussia was responsible 
for the defence of Hanover against the French. The 
mythical guarantee given b}^ Prussia when Hanover 

^ The minutes of this three-hour conference are in no. 1126a i, {Han, 

^Bailleu's Introduction to volume viii, Publicationen aus d. Kgl, 
Preuss. Archiven, Cf., p. xxv. 

^The opening words of the instructions sent v. Dohm refer to the fact 
that the main points in them were discussed in Magdeburg. There exist 
to my knowledge no minutes of this conference of April 15. 


ceased its measures of defence in the preceding fall, was 
something Hanover might be expected to revive and 
insist upon as long as Rudloff had a hand in shaping the 
Regency's councils. 

The instructions given von Dohm, as already men- 
tioned, were determined on in Magdeburg.^ When 
compared with the Prussian circular note of February 
15, they show that Prussia is now apparently deter- 
mined on but one thing, that is, the defence of the 
neutrality of her own Westphalian provinces. To the 
other interested provinces she offers the protection of 
her troops if they will co-operate in supporting a corps 
composed of regiments from Prussia, Brunswick and 
Hanover. So definite are von Dohm's instructions in 
proclaiming that Prussia could and would sit in peace 
and see the other provinces invaded, so sure is she of 
the ability of her own troops to protect her scattered 
Westphalian states, so oft repeated is the direction to 
von Dohm to make it clear to Hanover that this is 
but an offer of the king of Prussia, and that if Hanover 
does not provide temporarily the necessary supplies, vpn 
Dohm's mission ends ^ — so definitely is all this put, that 
it is only by reenforced attention to the real situation 
that one can distinguish the statesmanship in the general 
plan from the diplomacy adopted for its execution. 
Haugwitz's own utterances show that he saw in this 
crisis how inextricably Prussia's national honor and very 
existence were imperilled if the French should invade 
Westphalia and Lower Saxony. ^ The geography of 
Prussia's provinces made it impossible that she should 

^i?. 67 B. 19 a, vol. I, {^Berlin Archives). 

'^His instructions are to retire to Brunswick and await results. 

^ Cf. the meTnoire of March 3, in Berlin Archives {sup. cit.). 


be indifferent to French movements against Hanover/ 
What would become of Minden and the Mark if Hanover 
should be overrun by the French? Or who could foretell 
the fate of Hildesheim and Osnabriick, bishoprics that 
Prussia had not left out of sight in arranging her indem- 
nity? Thus it was that geography had shaped policy 
before von Dohm's instructions were ever drafted. It 
is from this point of view that one can understand why 
Hanover and the interested states dared to delay so long 
and to expect so much from Prussia; they felt certain 
she could abandon the Electorate only when she aban- 
doned her own states, and her hopes of increase in the 
Westphalian region.^ 

Specifically, von Dohm was directed to secure from 
the Regency in Hanover the support for three months 
of the troops of the Demarcation Army, and also the 
Regency's co-operation in getting the Imperial approval 
of the system of neutrality and the measures taken to 
support it. 3 The idea that the Emperor was not to call 
on the neutralized states for troops or contributions 
(Roman months) was indeed asking positive sacrifice of 
the Emperor in behalf of an association that put itself in 
opposition to the Imperial policy. 

A new demarcation line acknowledged by France, 

^ Lord Elgin, January 30, 1796, reports a conversation with Haugwitz 
after the receipt of Sandoz's first despatch, in which Haugwitz said that 
the King "further felt himself bound in honor to insure the safety of 
Hanover as he had exerted all the weight of his influence to obtain its 
adherence to the stipulations of Basle." {Eng. Rec. Office). 

'One is impressed with the feeling that the Hanoverians did not real- 
ize fully the financial and military weakness of Prussia, and counted too 
much on her ability to do alone what she asked their necessary aid in 

•''See copy of von Dohm's instructions in Berlin Archives. Also 
Gronau, Von Dohm, 300-302. 


then at war with the Empire, the formation of an army 
to defend it by drawing contingents that would other- 
wise go to the Imperial army fighting France on the 
Rhine, the approval of this neutrality association by the 
very Emperor whose forces it depleted, whose leader- 
ship it denied, the support of the Demarcation Army by 
subsidies from England, who regarded herself as deserted 
by Prussia at Basel, and by contributions from Hanover, 
whose ruler was then directing the English forces against 
France — it was this sheaf of possibilities that the govern- 
ment of Frederick William II. would bind together in a 
neutrality system which would restore Prussian prestige 
and establish the Prussian hegemony in North Germany. 
Was the statesmanship of Haugwitz and his colleagues 
robust enough to realize what it dreamed? The unsatis- 
factory course of the French negotiations has been noted. 
England refused subsidies to support an army that was 
to remain on the defensive.' The Emperor not only 

^Lord Elgin's despatch of Feb. 13, 1796, says he has combated an 
idea broached by von Ompteda, i.e., " that an army brought together 
for the purpose of preventing the infringement of the treaty of Basle 
would be so beneficial to the allies as to induce England to aid Prussia 
in forming it." He did it because " an idea has been surmised of form- 
ing a species of armed neutrality for the Circles of Upper and Lower 
Saxony, and in that view, no doubt, some troops destined for co-opera- 
tion with the Austrian army might be withheld for the purpose of join- 
ing the Prussians." February 2^)^ Elgin reported how Haugwitz and 
Hohenlohe had urged the benefit to England of the well-defined neu- 
trality of Hanover and North Germany. Elgin again tells them, 

' ' how impossible it was that England should stand forward for the 

defense of a treaty made in contradiction to engagements contracted 
with her and interests she was using every effort to support. That on 
these grounds it was quite out of the question that England should take 
any share in the protection of the North of the Empire or advance 
money for an arrangement for that purpose." Later, Lord Elgin went 
further than his instructions permitted, and urged on Count Kalitschev 
and Prince Reuss, the Russian and Austrian envoys, that though they 


stamped the neutrality system as unconstitutional, but 
brought the Empress Catherine of Russia from approv- 
ing to protesting against the Demarcation Army.^ One 

might disapprove Prussia's means of defending the north of Germany 
by a Demarcation Army, yet they must agree in holding her responsi- 
ble for its protection, and that, in view of the serious danger from the 
French, too many obstacles should not be put in the way of the Berlin 
Cabinet. Cf. Elgin's despatch no. 46, May 25, 1796. {Eng.Rec.Off.) 
Haugwitz in his reply to Russia's protest against the Demarcation 
Army, said that it was concerted with and approved by the English gov- 
ernment. The English ministry hastened to disavow this [cf. instruc- 
tions to Lord Elgin dated June 24, 1796). Further, on the attitude of 
Russia towards the Observation Corps, cf. Regency to King George, 
June 30, 1796. (In no. 1126a, /, Hanover Archives.) 

^The Prussian government allowed the English and Austrian repre- 
sentatives to think the Imperial consent was a sine qua non in the plan 
of forming a Demarcation Kxvsxy. Lord Elgin, April 16, qtiotes an 
Imperial declaration recently received that "neither as Emperor, State 
of the Empire or one of the combined powers can he give his sanction 
to the line of Demarcation for the neutrality of the north of Germany." 
April 24, Elgin reports that Haugwitz has abandoned the plan of get- 
ting the Imperial consent. April 26, he tells how Kalitschev has 
called on Haugwitz with assurances of Empress Catherine's hearty ap- 
proval of the Corps of Observation if "it would not be attended with 
circumstances of a nature to cause jealousy to the allies or to throw 
impediments in the waj'- of their operations." His despatch dated May 
17, discovers Kalitschev, as the result of an Austrian representation in 
St. Petersburg, urging Prussia to desist from the measure as insufficient 
in itself and unconstitutional in the eyes of the allies. Austria sought 
to arouse Hanover's suspicions by dwelling on the untrustworthiness of 
Prussian declarations and the ulterior aims she might be concealing be- 
hind the Demarcation Line and the Hildesheim. Congress. {Cf., e. g,, 
report of Embassy at Vienna to King George, July 13, ijgG, no. 1126a, 
2, Han. Archives.) Hanover stood up most stoutly for its right to 
protect itself. {Cf. Regency to its Embassy at Vienna, March 17 
and 29 and June 8, no. 1126a, I, Han. Archives.) Hardenberg and v. 
Miihl, Hanoverian envoys, acted steadily with Lucchesini in Vienna. 
(See despatches of Schoenfeld, Saxon Envoy, during these months, 
e. g., June 29, 1796, Dresden Archives.) After the Prussian and Han- 
overian envoys had jointly explained what was being done for the neu- 
trality of North Germany, the following note verbale was given Han- 


other support remained untried, and the success or fail- 
ure of von Dohm's negotiations with Hanover and the 
Circles of Lower Saxony and Westphalia would test that. 
The political situation in Hanover at this critical junc- 
ture shows two conflicting tendencies. The first is 
represented by the ministerial aristocracy which had set 
itself against Hanover's paying the cost of the Demarca- 
tion Army, and was maintaining that Prussia, having 
guaranteed Hanover's security, should itself support the 
army. If Prussia did not bear the expense, the Regency 

over: " Der Kaiser hatte zwar wiinschen mogen, dass das Corps welches 
zusammen gezogen wiirde nicht bios zu einer Deckung des nordlichen 
Deutschlands, sondern zur Mitwirkung fiir die gemeine Sache bestimmt 
ware, erkannte aber auch dass in so weit der Endzweck bios auf die 
Sicherstellung des nordlichen Deutschlandsgrenze und die Reichstand- 
ischen Obliegenheiten nicht minder genau erfiillt Vv^iirden, jene Ausstel- ^ 
lung eines Observation Corps den Gesetzen und der Verfassung des 
Reichs nicht entgegen stande und in dieser Masse versagten S. Kaiserl. 
Majst. Ihren Beifall nicht." (Extract enclosed in Schoenfeld's despatch 
of July 6(?), 1796. Dresden Archives.') The nearest the Emperor 
ever came to publicly recognizing the neutrality system was in a note of 
Count Colloredo's in reply to a Prussian protest against a supposed 
breach of the Demarcation Line. It is dated October 30, 1800. It refers 
to the occasion of the Prussian protest as unknown and immaterial 
" indem Allerhochstdieselben v/eit entfernt sind die von dem preus- 
sischen Hofe angenommenen Neutralitats-Grundsatze des nordlichen 
Deutschlands zu beeintrachtigen sondern vielmehr jede Gelegenheit 
eifrigst ergreifen werden Se. Majestat dem Konige Ihre freundschaft- 
lichen Gesinnungen zu bezeugen." Cf. Haberlins, Staatsarchiv, v, pp. 
357-359. The English and Austrian view of Prussia's plan may be in- 
ferred from Morton Eden's letter to Auckland, from Vienna, May 15, 
1796: "Prussia, supported by Hanover, is doing everything that is pos- 
sible to distress us in the Empire. Its views evidently are to set on foot 
an army at the expense of the Circles of Westphalia and Lower Saxony 
in order to avail itself of events. . . . The conduct of Hanover gives 
great discontent here (Vienna) and it seems impossible for me to con- 
vince any one that His Majesty's English ministers have no influence 
over the counsels of his Hanoverian government." Cf. Journal . . . of 
Lord Auckland, iii, 334. 


was willing to roll the burden upon the outlying West- 
phalian states on the plea that they were the real cause of 
the danger from the French.^ The second political 
group, the provincial estates and the people in general, 
turned toward Prussia as a natural protector, and re- 
ceived with favor the offer of King Frederick William II. 
to place a corps on guard duty if its support were 

If one stops to consider for a moment the policies 
here in conflict, it will be evident, I think, that the posi- 
tion of the Regency was not without a certain amount of 
justification, viewing the situation as they did. As repre- 
sentatives of their Elector's interest, they may well have 
hesitated at first to assume the expense involved in sup- 
porting an army of forty or fifty thousand for three 
months. They were not convinced of the reality of the 
danger from the French, considering, on the one hand, 
the ill-provisioned and disorganized condition of the 
French army, and, on the other, their own resisting 
power and the certainty that Prussia would rush to their 
aid if serious danger arose. ^ Having agreed to join 
their own troops to the Prussians under Bliicher, and to 
support their troops, they felt they had more than met 
all the promises they had made Prussia. The added de- 
mand that Hanover should, if everything else failed, 
support the Prussian corps too, may have been regarded 
by them as a financial matter in which delay and bar- 
gaining might relieve them of at least part of the ex- 
pense. Less justifiable but quite as potent may have 

^ Von Dohm's report of April 28, from Hanover, sup. cit. 

"^ Hanover correspondent of St. James Chronicle, writing April 23. 
Cf. issues of May 7-10 (British Museum). 

^See von Dohm's letter of April 28, 1796 {R. 67, B. 19a, I, Berlin 


been the fear which they, as members of the old aris- 
tocracy, shared with their class, that the assumption by 
the Electorate of such a burden would endanger their 
privileged exemptions from taxation/ All classes would 
be asked to contribute to the common defense, and a 
privileged class once yoked into drawing the burdens of 
state is not willingly restored by its team mates to a seat 
on the coach. 

Von Dohm on his way to Hanover stopped at Bruns- 
wick and learned there the discouraging result of the 
Duke's conference with President Kielsmanegg at Peine 
on April 21.^ When he arrived in Hanover, April 25,3 
his undampened ardor and unabated zeal were but 
coldly regarded by the Regency. His proposition that 
Hanover support the Observation Corps until the Diet 
of Hildesheim had acted was promptly rejected.^ His 
trump cards, the urgency of the danger from the French 

^ I am led to this suggestion by the character of the Regency, by the 
existence of such a struggle in Prussia (C/. Hist. Zeit., 1895, 256-260), 
and by the following passage in von Dohm's instructions: "Als Haupt- 
princip muss hiebey angenommen werden, dass alle Unterthanen der 
associirten Lande und vorzugl. auch die priviligirten Classen deren Ex- 
istenz und Eigenthum so vorzugl. geschiitzt wird, der Gerechtigkeit auch 
Vorschrift der Reichsverfassung gemass zu Tragung dieser Last mit 
beytragen und dieses iiberall auf gleichem Fuss behauptet werden muss 
und niemand irgend Privilegia und Immunitaten hiegegen anfiihren 
darf." {Berlin Archives, R. 67, B. 7P«, /.) A resolution to this effect 
was one of the first acts of the Hildesheim Congress. Cf. Haberlin's 
Staatsarchiv , iv, 383-387. 

^Material on von Dohm's mission is in Cal. Br. Des., 24, no. 550, 
and no. 1126a {Hanover Archives) . 

^ St. James Chronicle (London), May 19-21, 1796. The correspondent 
reports that Hardenberg is expected soon, and is to go to other towns 
to arrange measures of defense. 

*The ministry were not in the least conciliated by von Dohm. They 
hardly admitted him to a direct conference and passed him over soon 
after by communicating directly to Berlin. 


and the firm determination of the king of Prussia not 
to move a single man until supplies were on hand in 
convenient magazines/ were played in vain. The 
Regency replied^ that they knew no danger pressing- 
enough to make them assume a burden that should 
really rest on the states other than Prussia, Hanover 
and Brunswick, which were doing their share by furnish- 
ing troops. Their real view, however, was that Prussia 
should live up to the agreement they claimed it had 
made the previous fall. 3 Hanover would not admit that 
she herself was the cause of the danger to the tranquillity 
of the North of Germany/ Her Regency complained 
that they knew nothing of the French-Prussian negotia- 
tions or the status of the Demarcation Line which they 
were asked to defend.^ This much the Regency said 
directly to the Berlin statesmen and their further actions 
and utterances showed that they did not realize the weak 
and unstable condition of Prussia.^ They thought the 

^Von Dohm's letter to Haugwitz, from Halberstadt, April 19, 1796. 
He outlines these as the convincing points to present in Hanover. 

''Dated April 30, 1796, in R. 67, B. 19a, I {Berlin Archives). They 
further plead ignorance of the French and Imperial views on the forma- 
tion of an Observation Corps. 

^This allusion to Prussia's responsibility for Hanover's defenseless 
condition brought forth a vigorous reply from Berlin, May 7. {Cf. 
Ministry to von Dohm, Berlin Archives.) The Regency were not so 
blind to the danger from France as this reply indicates. See their letter 
of February 20 to Ompteda and to the King March 3. By March 
31 (Regency to the King) their courage is restored. {No. 1126a, I, 
Han. Archives.) 

*This point was urged in von Dohm's instructions. 

'See Hanoverian reply of April 30, sup. cit. In the meanwhile the 
Prussian king had been awaiting news of von Dohm's success in order 
to know how to answer the treaty proposition made by the French, April 
20. See Huffer, i, 304. 

^ Cf. Lord Elgin's despatch of May 2(?), 1796. {English Record 


Prussian minister Stein was already providing magazines 
at Minden for the support of the Prussian corps/ and 
when early in May, Hardenberg arrived in Hanover, the 
Regency hoped he might be the bearer of more favorable 
terms,"" and refused to accede to the demands made by 
von Dohm. Baffled but not beaten, that indefatigable 
minister, obeying his instructions, left Hanover for 
Brunswick, after having issued the Prussian ultimatum 
that Hanover must grant the supplies asked for by May 
12, or the offer of protection would be withdrawn. 3 
Here he only awaited a favorable reply from Hanover 
before moving to the second of his duties, the calling of 
the Congress at Hildesheim. 

Meanwhile influences were at work in the Electorate 
which did not propose to see the land left open to a 
French incursion by the delays and bickerings of Rudloffs 
and Kielmanseggs.4 Hardenberg, the Hanoverian whose 
diplomacy at Basel had made Prussia responsible for the 
acquiescence of Hanover in the neutrality, was now vis- 
iting in Hanover, ostensibly for business reasons,^ but 
really, one may feel sure, seeking to accomplish as a 

' Von Dohm's report of April 28, 1796. {Berlin Archives.) 

^ Von Dohm to Haugwitz, May 2, 1796. 

^Von Dohm, May 6, reports his presence in Brunswick "... wo 
ich in 24 Stunden weiter kommen als in Hannover in 6Tagen." What 
I have termed the Prussian ultimatum is dated Berlin, May 2, and as it 
was despatched par estafette could have been delivered by von Dohm 
before leaving Hanover. The time limit is the chief thing not in his 
original instructions. Hardenberg favored his leaving. Cf. von Dohm's 
report from Hanover May 2. 

* April 25, Haugwitz wrote von Dohm that the Demarcation Line 
could only be made acceptable to the French by making it far less in- 
clusive and even then no definite guarantees were obtainable. {Berlin 

* See Appendix A. at the end of this chapter. 


Prussian what he had planned as a Hanoverian years be- 
fore, namely, the bringing of Hanover into closer con- 
nection with the other German States.' Count Harden- 
berg as a private citizen was more influential than if he 
had come as Prussians envoy.' The public could regard 
him as a disinterested son of Hanover. The Regency 
alarmed by the activity of French revolutionary agents ^ 
and the urgent statements of von Ompteda, their am- 
bassador in Berlin, were readier to listen to Harden- 
berg*s representations of the critical nature of the situa- 
tion, for he spoke not alone as one who knew Prussian 
conditions, but as the mouthpiece of the Estates of Calen- 
berg who had not neglected this opportunity of making 
their voice heard.'^ 

In an earlier chapter a passing reference was made to 
some of the signs of Revolutionary influence in Hanover, 
and the name of von Berlepsch was mentioned as the 
agitator who had formulated the surprising declaration 
made by the Estates of the neutrality of " the Calenberg 
Nation." In the account of the first mission of von 
Dohm to secure the dispersion of English troops and 
mercenaries in the neutralized region, it was shown that 
the activity of these Estates and the co-operation of von 
Berlepsch in von Dohm's plans had brought forth a 
stirring protest against the remissness of the Regency 

1 Ranke, Hardenberg, I, 56-57. 

^ Cf. von Dohm's report from Brunswick May 6. 

'Lord Elgin's report of June [ ], 1796 {Eng. Record Office). 

*In his article on Reinhard in the Allg. Deutsche Biographic, Lang 
refers to a long memoire of Reinhard on conditions in Hanover at this 
time. This memoire I have not seen at this writing. A new source for 
the career of Reinhard after this period is the recently published letters 
of his wife. Cf. de Wimpfifen, Une Femme de Diplomate. Lettres de 
Madame Reinhard d sa Mere 1798-1815. (Paris, 1901.) 


in observing their treaty obligations. The crisis of 1796 
was such another occasion as von Berlepsch sought. 
On May 6, the Estates of Calenberg met in Hanover in 
special session. There were as of old the three houses 
— the nobility, clergy, and commonalty. Their form 
was that of the ancien regime ; their utterances, so often 
the outcome of local prejudices, showed on this occasion 
the breadth of a truer view than the Regency had yet 

Through the confidence of one of their members in 
von Dohm, we are given the substance of their deliber- 
ations." With unanimity the three Estates appealed for 
action to the Regency, whom the public held responsible 
for the delay of the Prussians in marching to the Elec- 
torate's defence. Their sense of their duty and the 
province's danger led the Estates to memorialize the 
ministry to adopt any and all measures that will place 
the safety of their Fatherland beyond doubt. The 
groundlessness of the Regency's plea of poverty is 
proved when the Estates ofifer to bear, in company with 
the other provinces of Hanover and the endangered 
neighboring states, the cost of the Prussian troops for 
the first three months. The action of the Estates was 
judiciously and respectfully taken. The language of this 
memorial is considerate, firm, vigorous. The energy of 
the Estates lay in the activity of von Berlepsch, whose 
promemoria was the basis of their discussion. The form 
of the declaration, its very tone, is given by the vote of 

* Von Dohm in Brunswick transmits the action von Berlepsch had 
taken on May 6. He refers to von Berlepsch as an able man decidedly 
out of favor in Hanover. Von Berlepsch embittered by his removal 
from his offices went so far in 1798 as to enter into a treasonable cor- 
respondence with the French urging them to invade Hanover. (C/. 
Wohlwill in Hist. Zeit., 1884, 422.) 


Herr Landrath, Graf von Hardenberg of the Curia 
Dominorum Nobilium. It was Hardenberg's statement 
which was unanimously approved by all three Estates.' 
Nor is it to be supposed that the activity of these former 
school fellows is comprehended in these resolutions.'' 
Public opinion needed to be aroused and directed, and 
when the Regency still delayed, the Estates demanded 
action on their memorial. The Regency may have 
omitted to answer the appeals of the Estates,^ but it had 
taken action much more to the point.^ 

The transfer of von Dohm from Hanover to Bruns- 
wick did not mean a cessation of his activity. He took 
up the scheme of a conference of delegates from the dif- 
ferent provinces interested in the system of defence, and, 
with von Miinchhausen, the chief minister of Brunswick, 
busied himself in sending out calls for such a conference. 
Though snubbed by the Hanoverian Regency^ and dis- 

* Von Dohm's letter of May 14 {R. 67, B, 19^, vol. /, Berlin Ar- 
chives) y encloses (i) a copy of the act of the Estates, (2) a minute of 
the resolutions of the committee in charge of the matter, (3) an address 
to the Regency dated May 7. 

^ Hardenberg proceeded to Altona (Hamburg) where he held a con- 
ference with Reinhard concerning Hanover. Cf. article by A. Wohl- 
will in Hansische Geschichtsbldtter, 1875, 94-95. 

'In their report to the king May 12, the Regency mention that 
*' Unterdessen sind schon die Liineburgische und die Calenbergische 
Landschaft bei uns von selbst eingekommen und haben angeboten dass 
zu der Vertheidigung des Landes und zu der Verpfiegung der Truppen 
die erforderlichen Lieferungen an Korn und Fourage nach einer dess- 
falls zu treffenden Regulirung vom Lande iibernommen werden sollen." 
{Hanover Archives) . 

* On the whole situation during these weeks see Appendix A. 

'Von Dohm's aggressive methods seem to have displeased the Re- 
gency very much so that they communicated directly to Berlin although 
von Dohm had full powers for all negotiations. 


gusted with their slack methods,^ he hoped still that 
they would not overrun the date set by the Prussian 
ultimatum — namely, May 12. Nor was he disappointed. 
The Regency sent Rudloff to Brunswick May 11, but 
did not arm him with the full powers asked. In view of 
the relations between the two men, it was an unhappy 
choice to send Rudloff to deal with von Dohm ** minis- 
terially," while directing him to negotiate with the min- 
istry of Brunswick. Finding that the latter body would 
not deal with him, Rudloff was finally driven to call on 
von Dohm, who, making the best of a bad business, 
treated him as the fully accredited envoy he had awaited. 
It was thus ungraciously that the Hanoverian Regency 
yielded to the necessities of the situation by adopting 
measures requested by Prussia and approved by their 
sovereign and by public opinion in Hanover.^ 

The following days were spent in a conference between 
von Dohm, Rudlofif, von Miinchhausen and Mahner for 
Brunswick, and Lockhausen for Hildesheim, discussing 
the provisional support of the troops.^ Rudloff had 
come with a plan which he practically carried through.'^ 
It amounted to Hanover's assuming about one-half the 

^ In order to show them the Prussian way of doing business he an- 
swers communications received on Sunday night before seven o'clock 
on Monday. The steps they then take involve a different question than 
that proposed by Haugwitz between Dec. 5, 1795 and Feb. 15, 1796. 

'C7. von Dohm's reports in R. 67, B. 19a, I. Berlin Archives. 

*Rudloff's memoranda of the meetings are in nos. 1126a, /, and No. 
550 {Han. Archives) and von Dohm's are in R. 67, B. 19a, vols. I and 
//. {Berlin.) 

*Von Dohm was warned by General Wallmoden in a letter to the 
Duke of Brunswick not to trust too implicitly in Rudloff's assurances as 
to the " Marschfertigkeit" of the Hanoverian Corps. Wallmoden 
hoped to have 10,000 men on the Weser by the end of the month but 
they could not be fully prepared before June 15 or 20. Cf. von Dohm's 
letter of May 14 {Berlin Archives) . 


expenses of the united corps of 45,000 Prussians, Han- 
overians and Brunswickers. Not all the arguments and 
persuasion of von Dohm were able to move Rudloff to 
assume a greater burden/ Having settled the Elec- 
torate's share, Rudloff withdrew, promising to return, 
but he did not, and most of the deliberations conducted 
after May 18, as to the shares to be borne by the 
Hanseatic cities and smaller states, were without Han- 
over's participation. When measured by their willing- 
ness to pay for the defense to which they contributed no 
troops, it cannot be said that the Hanseatic cities and 
lesser states of Lower Saxony and Westphalia showed 
so great self-sacrifice as Hanover, which had at all times 
been willing to contribute and support its corps of 
15,000 men. Hamburg and Bremen had been asked to 
assume part of the provisional outlay. They pleaded 
various excuses, but were evidently in terror of French 
displeasure." To Hamburg, further French irritation 
would have been particularly embarrassing, as the city 
was already more than troubled by the problem of what 
to do with the representative sent them by the Republic.^ 
Wherever he turned von Dohm was balked by timidity 
and niggardliness. 

Over all the countless and wearying details of these 
preliminary conferences we can pass without loss of time. 
Their management is a tribute to the activity, patience 

^The tension at the conference was unpleasant. At one time Rudloff 
withdrew and only an invitation from the Duchess of Brunswick kept 
him in town till a compromise was effected. 

^ Von Dohm finally got a cash payment from Hamburg. Bremen re- 
fused at first to participate openly but would send money secretly. 
Prussia refused to excuse her from sending a delegate to the Congress 
in Hildesheim. 

* Reinhard. See A. Wohlwill's article in Hansische Geschichtsblattet 
for 1875. 


and hopefulness of von Dohm amid the most exasperat- 
ing delays and discouragements. Delegates to these 
Brunswick conferences frequently appeared without the 
necessary full powers and then all apportionments must 
await the approval of their petty governments. The re- 
fusal of some small contributor to do its assigned share 
necessitated a complete re-apportionment, which, when 
arranged by the same process of bickering, wheedling^ 
and threatening, had to run the gauntlet of ratifications 
down to the little power whose share was a few miser- 
able bales of straw or bushels of oats. Meanwhile the 
advance guard of a Prussian army — a Prussia but ten 
years away from the days of Frederick the Great — was 
waiting under Bliicher — the same Bliicher who was not 
to be delayed at Waterloo — waiting till these little 
principalities enclosed within the lines of Prussia's west- 
ern possessions, should appropriate a few thalers to de- 
fend their own existence. Was it any wonder that the 
Republican armies could break at will into a land where 
exemption from three months' support of a few thousand 
men was insisted on as though it were a principle of 
state policy? Is it remarkable that Prussians thought 
aloud about territorial consolidation and extension, and 
that the lessons learned in the weakness of 1795 to 1803 
bore fruit years later? Is it surprising that men like 
von Dohm, Massenbach, the Duke of Brunswick, Haug- 
witz and Hardenberg, looked forward to a definite 
hegemony of Prussia in North Germany, either through 
the grouping of states in a revived Furstenbund, or by a 
division of the Empire between Austria and Prussia?^ 

*Von Dohm was selected by Frederick the Great as one of his 
agents in the organization of the Furstenbund and had since been active 
in the Westphalian region as a Prussian official stationed at Halberstadt. 
His experience in these fifteen years culminating in his labors in con- 


The consideration of such policies must be left to the 
historians of the later periods; but the conditions 
which would give rise to such views and justify their 
realization are revealed in the period we are studying, 

nection with the Congress of Hildesheim, gave him certain well- 
grounded views of the needs of Prussia and North Germany. The rev- 
olutionary wars directed his thoughts as they had those of Haugwitz, 
the Duke of Brunswick and Massenbach, toward some form of a North 
German Confederacy. Like them, also, he had drafted his plan of 
union. Gronau, in his Christian Wilhelm von Dohm nach seinetn 
Wollen und Handeln, Appendix XII. (Lemgo, 1824), publishes in 
French, a memorial of von Dohm's, prepared in 1800, which embodies 
his idea of a plan for federating North Germany under Prussian leader- 
ship. Colonel Massenbach in his Memoiren zur Geschichte des Preuss- 
ischen Staates^ iii, 201-229, publishes a German translation with some 
alterations of his own and adds notes (see Gronau, sup. cit., p. 374, 
note i). After a sweeping review of conditions in 1800 in which he 
dwells on the advantages Austria is likely to obtain from her recent 
treaties with the French, and the constant danger in which Germany 
stands now that foreign war has become practically the condition of 
internal peace in France, von Dohm in his memoir goes on to consider 
the means by which Prussia may secure herself and strengthen her 
power. He repudiates the idea of partitioning or annexing minor 
powers which are found unable to defend themselves. Such a proceed- 
ing might be necessary in South Germany, but in the North the states 
felt no pressing danger from France and were too independent and too 
strongly attached to the existing state of affairs to be treated in any such 
summary fashion. Aggression would drive them to union in defence of 
their common interests. As the old Empire is practically dissolved, it 
is better to lead these states into a new league with Prussia at its head. 
Not the least of the advantages of such a plan would be its return to the 
ancient German federative principle which had been unwisely abandoned 
during the past two centuries of state sovereignty. 

The primary problem in forming such a confederation would be essen- 
tially that to which the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention ad- 
dressed itself — the comparison is mine — namely, the determination of 
the spheres of central and state government and their definition so that 
conflict might be avoided. 

The area to be included in the new confederation should be that pro- 
tected by the Demarcation Line which might well be extended to the 
Main and ought, in any case, to include Hesse-Cassel. In order to give 
due recognition to the more powerful states included, von Dohm is 


and such a mission as von Dohm's is enlightening in its 
failures. Five weeks to arrange with a dozen petty 
powers the support of 45,000 soldiers for three months, 
and the almost complete shipwreck of a policy by the 

willing to divide his confederation into four sections, in each of which 
Prussia, Saxony, Hanover and Hesse-Cassel shall have certain military 
and political prerogatives. 

Despite all the difficulties of whose existence no one had a keener 
appreciation than von Dohm, that optimistic Prussian hoped the union 
might be formed. Success is assured, he said, to those who labor for 
what all see is a necessity. Let Prussia be judicious in securing the de- 
finition of its rights, and firm in claiming them once they were agreed 
to. Thus the small states would be prevented from exceeding their 
powers while, on the other hand, they might rest secure in the rights 
reserved to them. A federal treasury and army should be formed to 
provide for the common defense. He then outlines a detailed plan for 
the military defense of the confederation. To treasury and army all 
states and all classes within the states should contribute without distinc- 
tion or privilege. 

For each section there was to be a council of deputies to direct the 
expenditures of the section's treasury and attend toother matters. The 
affairs of the whole confederation were to be directed by a Prussian min- 
ister acting in conjunction with the princely heads of the other sections. 
A new judiciary was to replace the old Imperial courts and differences 
between the states were to be arbitrated by a court whose members 
were named by the states. 

When its details are worked out, von Dohm feels sure his plan will 
prove feasible because * * Notre SysUme actuel de la neutraliU du Nord 
d' AUemagne en a dijd. fourni V exempie sous des conditions beaucoup 
ntoins favorahles. II a frayi le chemin pour un Systime plus Hendu et 
permanent y The italics are mine. 

Von Dohm concludes with some statesmanlike suggestions as to the 
selection and arrangement of secularized indemnities with a view to 
conducting that matter so that the federative idea might be furthered. 
Let Prussia in this, and in the conduct of the whole matter, show the 
purity and disinterestedness of her intentions and all Germany will de- 
clare for the plan. He then points out how the foreign powers may be 
brought to see their advantage in favoring a North German Confedera- 
tion under Prussian leadership. 

[I am indebted to my friend, Prof. T. W. Todd, of Washburn College, 
Topeka, Kansas, for his kindness in making me a copy of this plan from 
Gronau's work in the Royal Library in Berlin.] 


short-sightedness of the state most interested next to 
Prussia in its execution, show what conditions existed 
in the Germany of the eighteenth century. When the 
circumstances are clear, we must feel that it was a tri- 
umph for von Dohm to have arranged, by June i, the 

The words which I have italicized recall a passage in Massenbach's 
MemoireUy ii, 217 {cf. also p. 103), written supposedly in Feb.', 1796, 
After stating that Prussia has only to observe the strictest neutrality in 
order to assure herself of similar self-restraint on the part of the French, 
he concludes: ** Dann aber bliihet die Wohlfahrt unserer westphalischen 
Provinzen unter den Stiirmen des Krieges und das westliche Deutsch- 
land, das uns Schutz und Sicherheit zu danken hat, gewohnt sich nach 
und nach an die Bande, mit welchem wir es sanft umschliesscn. Eine 
Foderation Preussens und der Staaten des westlichen Deutschlands wird 
Bedurfniss fur Preussen." 

According to Treitschke {Deutsche Geschichte im Neunzehnten Jahr- 
hundert, i, 181) this plan of von Dohm's was first presented by him at 
the Congress of Rastatt in 1797. Gronau {sup. cit., pp. 373, 374) in 
discussing the origin of the plan says that shortly before von Dohm left 
Halberstadt he had a conference with the Duke of Brunswick and an- 
other distinguished German prince (possibly the Duke of Weimar, cf. 
Hausser, Deutsche Geschichte, ii, 490 ff, fourth edition) concerning the 
critical situation. They encouraged him to frame his ideas and lay them 
before those in authority. The result was the above plan written in the 
first weeks of his stay at Harburg. (The copy in the Berlin archives is 
dated Halberstadt, Nov. 7, 1800. See Hausser, sup. cit., ii, 490, foot- 
note). It seems to have been sent to the smaller provinces without 
effect. That it was not forgotten in Hanover nor very favorably re- 
ceived, is evidenced by the fact that in December, 1801, Miinster, the 
Hanoverian envoy to St. Petersburg, presented it to the Russian gov- 
ernment as a proof of the wide-reaching plans, inimical to the interests 
of Russia and of North Germany, which were cherished in Berlin. 

The plan of the Duke of Brunswick for dividing the Empire between 
Prussia and Austria is mentioned in the despatches of Lord Carysfort for 
October 21 and November i, 1800. {English Record Office.) The 
English ambassador states that the plan had the approval of Haugwitz. 
It should not escape the reader that the date of Carysfort' s despatch is 
about the time of the appearance of von Dohm's plan. Hudelist, the 
Austrian agent in Berlin, contended, in 1799, that the neutrality system 
was founded and maintained with a view to the dissolution of the Em- 
pire. See his despatch in Bailleu, i, 557, 558. To any one interested in 


question of temporary supplies for the Demarcation 
Army. He was then able to turn to the Congress of 
Hildesheim and the host of questions it crowded upon 

considering further the possibilities of the neutrality system, the words 
of King Frederick William III., possibly only royal flattery, may be of 
interest. They were spoken to Capt. von der Decken, the Hanoverian 
special envoy, in the crisis of 1801. The king said: "Erwunsche, dass 
das durch die Demarkations-Linie angefangene System auch nach dem 
Kriege fortdauern moge, und eine bleibende Verbindung zwischen den 
protestantischen Staaten fortdauern konne. Es ware ihm dariiber ver- 
schiedene Plane uberreicht, und er wiinsche auch meine Meinung zu 
horen." See von der Decken's report of March 24, 1801, in Cal. Br, 
Des. 24 Brandenburg-Preussen, no. 585, Hanover Archives. 

Treitschke {sup. cit., i, 144) closes his paragraph on the treaty of 
August 5, 1796, with these words: "Die Gedankenarmuth der Berliner 
Politik versuchte kaum ernstlich, die thatsachliche Herrschaft, welche 
der Staat im Norden besass, zu einer staatsrechtlichen Hegemonic aus- 
zubilden; unddoch Hess sich der Friedenschluss nur dann cntschuldigen, 
wenn mann ihn benutzte um in Norddeutschland die Politik des Furst- 
enbundes wieder aufzunehmen." This comprehensive but cautiously 
stated judgment should be examined and interpreted, it seems to me, in 
the light of the material given in this note and in the account of the 
formation of the Demarcation Army and the Congress of Hildesheim. 
See also note i, p. 173 and p. 174, note 3. 

' Since the completion of this monograph there has appeared the fifth 
volume of Sorel's V Europe et la Revolution Frangaise with the sub- 
title Bonaparte et le Directoire, 1795-99. Though appreciating fully the 
importance of the Franco-Prussian relations in this period, (cf. for ex- 
ample p. 28) the author of the excellent articles on the treaty of Basel 
and the neutrality policy already cited has given rather less space than 
might have been expected to the Prussian neutrality system and adds 
nothing new to the work already done by himself and Dr. Bailleu in 
this field. 

CHAPTER V— Appendix A 

The following letter of the Regency to King George 
in London throws so much light on the general situa- 
tion that I have considered it worth making public. I 
am indebted to my friend, Dr. Victor Loewe, of Han- 
over, for the copy given below. The letter is dated 
May 8, 1796: 

" Auf diese anderweite Note ist bald darauf mit 

einer Staffette eine Depecbe des Hofraths von Ompteda 
gefolget, welche er, um einer gleichfalls abgehenden Preuss. 
Staffette zuvor zu koirtmen, nur in simplo hieher abgelassen 
hat, und wovon wir demnach die Abschrift E. K. M. hiedurch 
in Unterthanigkeit vorlegen. Nach solcher hat der Minister 
Graf von Haugwitz, ( der ubrigens von der hier dem von Dohm 
ertheilten Antwort noch keine Kenntniss gehabt), ihm in einer 
eigens dazu verlangten Conferenz die Erofnung gemacht, dass 
nach den dringenden Umstanden das rass emblement der 
Truppen entweder unverziiglich geschehen, oder diese mesure 
vollig aufgegeben werden miisse, dass daher man Preuss. 
Seits genothiget sey, sich binnen einer bestimmten Termin von 
z^hn Tagen die diesseitige Erklarung wegen der provisorischen 
Verpflegung zu erbitten, und dass dazu der von Dohm den 
schleunigsten Auftrag erhalten werde. Dabei ist selbiger 
dann ausfuhrlich in die Betrachtungen hineingegangen, nach 
welchen, wie er vermeint hat, die gegriindete grossste und 
nach Besorgnis von Frankreich jetzt vorhanden sey, wie 
E. K. M. aus der Depeche selbst in mehrerem zu ersehen, 
geruhen werden. 

Indem wir damit uns in der Lage befunden, eine Entschliess- 
ung fassen zu miissen, die in Ansehung der mit dem Preusse. 
601] 163 


Hof zu nehmenden mesures vielleicht entscheidend seyn durfte : 
so wird unterdessen von E. K. M. aus dem Beridhts Psto. des 
Hofraths von Ompteda vom 30. April wahirgenommen seyn, 
wie der Minister Graf von Haugwitz sich gegen ihn iiber die 
Lage der Umstande mit Frankreich und iiber die Gesinnungen 
des Preuss. Hofs viel vollstandiger und viel zusammenhang- 
ender geaussert gehabt hat, als es vorhin noch nie geschehen 
gewesen ist. Daraus ergiebt sich erstlich, dass Frankreich 
geflissentHch die Negdciation wegen der NeutraHtat zu traini- 
ren, und in eimer Ungewisheit zu lassen sucht, um darunter 
freie Hande zu behalten. Es lasset zweitens keinen Zweifel 
iibrig, dass es insonderheit feindseelige Absichten gegen 
E. K. M. teutsche Lande heget, und den Preuss. Hof dahin 
zU disponiren trachtet, wo nicht in die Absichten mit hinein zu 
ge'ben, doch in einer gewissen Gleichgiiltigkeit dabei zu bleiben, 
Und drittens scheint es jetzt der ernstliche Wille des Preuss. 
Hofs zu seyn, der von Frankreich gegen das nordliche Teut- 
schland iiberhaupt gerichteten Intention sich mit Nachdruck 
zu widersetzen, und dabei aller Anstoss gegen den romisch. 
kaiserl. Hof moghchst zu vermeiden. 

Der in diesen Tagen in seinen privat Angelegenheiten hier 
gewesene Preuss. Minister von Hardenberg hat in miindHchen 
Uniterredungen alles dieses mit Anfiihrung von noch viel 
mehrern speciellen Umstanden bestattiget, wobei er zugleich 
im Vertrauen erlautert, dass das bisherige schwankende in 
dem System und den Maasregeln zu Berlin, welches er nicht 
entkennt, theils aus den differenten Opinionen in Ministerio 
und theils daher riihren, dass, gegen seine jederzeit gehegte 
Meinung, man Anfangs immer geglaubt und gewiinscht habe, 
auf die franzosischen Aeusserungen bauen zu konnen, die dann 
in der Folge bald verandert, bald verdrehet, bald widerum 
erneuert, und bald im Grunde vollig zuriickgenommen waren. 
Insondei^heit hat er von der Lage der Dinge zu Berlin folgendes 
im engsten vertrauen zu erkennen gegeben. Es waren daselbst, 
ausser der Partei des Printzen Heinrich, deren anstossige 
politische Grundsatze der Konig mit einer Art von Indigna- 


tion ansehe, zweierlei Parteien voirhanden. Die eine Partei 
halte dafiir, dass Preussen sein Imteresse von dem nordlichen 
Teutschland und von dem Interesse E. K. M., als Churfiirsten, 
durchaus nicht trennen, gegen Frankreich eine starke Sprache 
fiihren, und imposante Maasregein nehmen, und solchergestalt 
das gemeinschaftliche Armement aufstellen lassen miisse; und 
von dieser Partei sey der Minister Graf von Haugwitz, der 
General-lieutenant von Bischofswerder und auch der Prinz 
von Preussen.^ Die andre Partei hingegen, an deren Spitze 
der Minister von Struensee ^ sich befinde, und wohin; eben- 
falls der Cabinets-Minister von Alvensleben inclinire, hege 
die Meinung, dass man Preusse. Seits die ganze convention 
additionelle des Baseler Friedens fahren zu lassen,, nur die 
eigenen Preuss. Lande zu salviren, wegen des iibrigen 
nordlichen Teutschlands aber sich nidht gegen Frankreich zu 
stellen habe, und damit die schweren Kosten des Armements 
erspart werden konnten und wiirden. Gegenwartig habe die 
erstere Partei und Meinung das Uebergewicht nach der per- 
sonlichen Denkungsart des Konigs ; f anden sich aber in der 
Ausfiihrung davon zu viele und zu mannicbfaltige Schwierig- 
keiten, so konne man nicht gewiss seyn, dass selbige sinken 
und die andre Meinung oben kommen mogte. 

Wenn man dieses nun auch dahin gestellt seyn lasset, so 
bleibt es allemahi jedoch unter den vorhandenen Umstanden 
das wesentHche Interesse E. K. M. Sich fiir Ihro teutsche 
Lande des Preussischen Hofs zu versichern, und selbigen 
hieher fest zu halten. Es wird dadurch die Sicherheit und 

^ Later King Frederick William IIL, not to be confused with Prince 
Henry of Prussia, who favored the French. 

^On Struensee's views, see report of the French Agent Otto, August, 
1799. Bailleu, i, 505. Before accepting the views there presented, one 
should read the report of the Austrian envoy, in Bailleu, i, 535, 536. 
Time must have softened Haugwitz 's feehng toward Struensee if any 
such opposition ever existed, for Haugwitz, in his Memoires, refers to 
Struensee in the kindest and most loyal terms as his mentor and the 
supporter of Haugwitz's system of neutrality. See Ranke, Works, 47, 
304, ** Notiz iiber die Memoiren des Graf en von Haugwitz." 


die Abwendung der Gefahr der hiesigen Lande auf eine 
gedoppelte Weise erreicbet, und so zu sagen entschieden. Ein- 
mahl nemlich, weil mit der Assistenz des Preusse. Hofs, zu 
deren Leistung derselbe seine VerbindHchkeit dermalen nicht 
entkennt und bereit ist, man zuverlassig stark genung seyn 
wird, um eine intendirende feindliche Invasion abzuhalten. 
Und zweitens vornenilich, weil nach der hochsten Wahrschein- 
lichkeit, so bald die hiesigen Truppen mit Preussischen Truppen 
zusammen stehen, franzosischer Seits schwerlidh einst ein 
Angrif und eine Zuriickwerfung der letztern gewagt werden 
wird, um sich nicht eine offenbare Rupture mit Preussen 
zuzuziehen. Dahingegen wenn moglicher Weise Preussen hier 
zuriick bliebe, es eines Theils mit der hiesigen Sicherheit ganz 
auf die Zulanglichkeit der eigenen Vertheidigung allein be- 
ruhen, und andern Theils es dann doch wenigstens immer von 
Seiten Frankreich zu einem Angrif und zu wiirklichen Hos- 
tilitaten kommen,, und von deren ungewissen Ausgang die Sich- 
erheit E. K. M. Lande ganzlich abhangen wiirde " 


Founding Neutrality as a System {Continued) 

Having in earlier chapters outlined the withdrawal of 
Prussia and her neighbors from the continental struggle, 
and the failure of their attempts to have a definite neu- 
tral zone established with a self-enforcing boundary line, 
it was found necessary in the preceding chapter to sketch 
the inception of a plan for securing what the convention 
additionelle of May 17, 1795, had promised but not 
attained. That plan, as we have seen, had two sides. 
The one was outward toward France, and negative, 
involving the negotiating of a treaty by which France 
bound herself not to violate the neutrality of the area for 
whose non-participation in the war Prussia made herself 
in a sense responsible. The other side was that turned 
toward North Germany, and necessitating certain positive 
measures, that is, the organization of an Observation 
Corps or Demarcation Army to make the negotiated line 
respected, and also the finding, in co-operation with the 
States protected, of some means of supporting that army. 
It will be the object of this chapter to follow the con- 
summation of the efforts initiated by Prussia for the 
founding of a system of neutrality, and, if space permits, 
to follow briefly the history of that system till the year, 
1801, when, with its right to exist called into question 
by the treaty of Luneville, it met an inglorious end at 
the hands of the power which had called it into being. 

The central and most positive thing in the task Prussia 
605] 167 


undertook was the formation and support of an army 
that should guard the line of the Ems and Weser. The 
idea of creating such a defensive force was not a new one 
when Haugwitz broached it to Ompteda early in Decem- 
ber, 1795.' As early as October, 1795, the Duke of 
Brunswick had been urging such a force as worthy Eng- 
land's encouragement by subsidies,' and the Saxon am- 
bassador, Zinsendorf, had opened the subject to von 
Ompteda in the same month.3 Tracing the idea back to 
its source we come to see, as did some of the statesmen 
of the day, that an army of defense was a necessary 
complement to the projected neutrality/ The Hanove- 
rian who, as Prussia's agent at Basel, had negotiated the 
first neutrality, secured the introduction of the Demar- 
cation Line, and had made himself an effective force in 
arousing his native state to the responsibihties she must 
assume in the grave crisis of these months in 1796, is 
certainly among the first to couple the idea of neutrality 
by force of arms to the idea of neutrality by treaty. In 
his memoir, dated at Frankfort January 13, 1795,* Har- 
denberg clearly exposed the danger of violation that an 
extended neutral zone sustained. His remedy was the 
formation of two Armies of Observation— one French, 
the other to be composed of contingents from the neu- 

*See von Ompteda's despatch of December 5, 1795. 

"^ See letter of Wallmoden's to Duke of York, Nov. 4, 1795, trans- 
mitting the Duke of Brunswick's letter {English Record Office , Bruns- 
wick^ Foreign and Domestic, vol. /, 1785-1800). 

^On October 11. See von Ompteda's despatch of Oct. 25, 1795. 

*See Haugwitz's memorial in Bailleu, i, 267. 

* Massenbach, Memoiren, ii, 315-324. Almost twenty years before, 
Hardenberg, as a Hanoverian official, had discussed with the representa- 
tive of Frederick the Great this monarch's plan of forming just such an 
army to protect Hanover against the danger of a French invasion in 
1778-79. See Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 48-49. 


tralized German states.' But the idea came to naught. 
The withdrawal of Hohenlohe's corps from around 
Frankfort showed how ready Prussia was to avoid any 
clash with either France or Austria. To have maintained 
unaided the original line by a Demarcation Army would 
have involved Prussia in expenses almost as great as 
those which had exhausted her treasury during the war. 
Even with a less extensive area to defend, we have seen 
how incapable of utilizing Prussian resources by an ade- 
quate system of taxation,^ the Prussian minister of 
finance, Struensee, had shown himself. But the army 
was an essential element in the neutrality system, Haug- 
witz's ** enfant cheri"; and the army depended, under 
existing circumstances, on what Hanover and the minor 
states of northwestern Germany would do to support it. 
How was their co-operation to be secured? 

Haugwitz, writing of this period several years later, 
called it one of the most embarrassing situations in 
which Prussia had ever been placed.^ ''The fate of 
Prussia hung by a thread," said Massenbach. It was in 
this situation that Haugwitz fell upon the idea of reviv- 
ing the Diet of the Circle of Lower Saxony, which had 
not met since 1682. The subject was discussed with 
von Dohm^ as the man best qualified by his knowledge 
of the German constitution to undertake its calling and 
direction. 5 After having arranged for the temporary 

^This idea Hardenberg continued to favor. See his letter of Novem- 
ber 2.2, 1795. Bailleu, i, zz, 34, 

^ Cf. also article on Struensee in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. 

■^Haugwitz's memorial of Jan. 5, 1799, in Bailleu, i, 265 ff. {Cf, p. 

* Von Dohm's instructions refer to it as discussed at Magdeburg. See 
also von Albensleben's Denkschrift in Bailleu, i, 153. 

*" Von Dohffl ist lediglich ein Publicist der genau die deutsche Con- 


support of the Demarcation Army, von Dohm. was 
directed to issue a call for a congress at Hildesheim of 
the states of the two Circles, Lower Saxony and West- 
phalia, which were interested in maintaining the Demar- 
cation Line. The contumacy of the Hanoverian Regency 
and the petty spirit of other states at the Brunswick 
conference had delayed von Dohm's issuing the call for 
a meeting of the Circle of Lower Saxony/ By May 21, 
however, the situation allowed him to issue a call for a 
meeting at Hildesheim, June 20, of accredited delegates 
from "the states within the new Demarcation Line."* 
On June 22,3 the Congress of Hildesheim held its first 

"The Congress of Hildesheim deserves unquestionably 
to be ranked among the most remarkable events of the 
times," says Haberlin in 1796, and adds — how character- 
istic of men in the shadow of that venerable legal lean- 
ing tower, the Holy Roman Empire — it " offers a rich 
field for the discussion of legal questions." '^ And the 
discussions came. Could one doubt but that men who 
debated endlessly on questions of precedence and the 
importance of distinguishing it by red plush chairs and 
green plush chairs, would seize the occasion to utter 
ponderous, " reichsrechtliche" opinions on all conceivable 

stitution kennt u. den Inhalt aller Reichs-Fundamental Gesetze sich zu 
eigen gemacht hatte. Ein genialischer Kopf ist er nicht, jedoch sehr 
brauchbar als Instrument." (V. Colin.) Vertraute Briefe, vol. i, 12 
(Amsterdam, 1807). 

*The call is published in Haberlin, Staatsarchiv, i, 393-395. A copy of 
this call dated April 22 is in the Hanoverian Archives. 

^Haberlin, Staatsarchiv, i, 395-396. 

^ Bailleu, i, 153. Just a month after the date suggested in von Dohm's 

* Haberlin, Staatsarchiv, iii, 45. This magazine put itself on record 
as an exponent of the Congress and the ideas it represented. 


phases of the Congress's formation and activity? Such 
an innocent phrase as that quoted from the call for the 
Congress — '' to the States of the Empire included in the 
new Demarcation Line" — represents as much discussion 
and diplomacy as a case before the Hague Tribunal. 
Nobody knew of a precedent for a joint session of the 
Diets of the two Circles, and as all the states of West- 
phalia were not comprehended in the Line, how could 
the representatives of those who were, be allowed to sit 
at the same table with the Diet of Lower Saxony? 
Hanover objected to such an irregular way of increasing 
the membership of the Diet of Lower Saxony, as it 
would have made it less possible for Hanover, Prussia 
and Brunswick to control its deliberations. The voting 
power of small states would have been increased, and 
these states were anxious to roll the main burden upon 
the Electorate whose connection with the crown of Eng- 
land, they held, brought them all in danger.' But the 
form finally decided on ^ was that of a joint conference of 
the Diet of Lower Saxony and of the representatives of 
the interested states of the Diet of Westphalia. These 
two groups of delegates held separate sessions with von 
Dohm as representative of Magdeburg to the Diet of 
Lower Saxony and extraordinary plenipotentiary of the 
king of Prussia to the conference of Westphalian states. 

^ See Gronau, Christian Wm. von Dohm, 306, foot note (Lemgo, 
1824) . 

^ Von Dohm's reports and instructions up to June 29, 1796 in R. 67, 
B. 19, vol. II. {Berlin Archives .) The instructions dated June 18, 
approve the Kreistag form as long as Hanover prefers it. They insist, 
however, that von Reden only represents the elector of Hanover, in 
which case von Dohm who represents Frederick William II., as king, 
elector and member of the Empire, must take precedence over Hanover's 


Thus as a delegate to both sections of the conference, 
he passed from one table to the other to lead the dis- 

A dozen petty questions had to be settled, not the 
least annoying of which was the question of precedence 
raised by the Hanoverian delegate, von Reden, whether 
he, as representative of the king of England, ought 
not to outrank other delegates.'' How were the contri- 
butions to be apportioned, according to the ability of 
the states to pay, or according to the degree of danger 
they were in from a French invasion ? 3 Should class 
privileges exempt any individual within the lines of the 
participating states?^ In view of certain cessions of 
Charles XH. of Sweden in 1712, did the representative 
of Magdeburg, von Dohm, or the representative of 
Bremen, von Reden, have the best claim to exercise the 
right of Directorium agens?^ To von Dohm and his 
government, all matters of form and ceremony were in- 
different.^ What they wanted was action. There was 
but one question before the Congress : Would it agree 
to support the army Prussia offered for its protection? 
To this one thing, said Haugwitz, let them confine their 

*Gronau, von Dohm {sup. cit.), pp. 308, 309. 

^ Possibly a more annoying action was that of the delegate from the 
city of Bremen at the conferences in Brunswick in making himself the 
mouth-piece of Reinhard, the French envoy to the Hanseatic cities. 
Reinhard even proposed to attend the Congress. See the reports of von 
Dohm cited in the preceding chapter. On the French attitude towards 
the Demarcation Army see Hist. Zeit., 1884, 415-416, also Sandoz de- 
spatch in Bailleu, i, 66-67. 

^Haberlin, Staatsarchiv, iii, 45. 
*See note below. 
^Ct. Gronau, von Dohm, 306. 

^ Cf. Instructions to von Dohm dated Berlin, June 29 {Berlin Ar- 
chives) . 


deliberations/ understanding always that it was a Prus- 
sian offer, not a Prussian guarantee, they were accepting.^ 
The history of the deliberations at Hildesheim is a 
better exhibition of the energy and fidelity of the Prussian 
envoy than it is of the business-like methods which his 
government commended, or of the patriotic spirit which 
men of wider vision strove to instill. ^ Its first session 
lasted from June 22 to September i, 1796. It met a 
second time February 25, and adjourned never to meet 
again, June 21, 1797.^ It arranged for the support of 
the troops of the Demarcation Army, fixing the share of 
each contributing state and arranging for the delivery of 
supplies and funds every three months. It audited ac- 
counts, and when provinces failed to pay it relieved the 
delinquent, if the excuse was accepted, and redistributed 
shares to make good the deficit. Practically von Dohm 
was the Congress, and with its disappearance in June, 
1797, he did without it what he had attempted to do 
with it, namely, arrange the Verpflegung of the Demar- 
cation Arm.y.^ 

^ Whatever possibilities the Congress of Hildesheim may have oftered 
of founding a North German Confederation, it is well here to remind 
ourselves just what Prussia had in mind in convening it. The following 
passage from von Dohm's instructions of June 18 is unequivocal: ** Hiebey 
ist unsere festen Willensmeinung, dass der vorseyende Convent, v/elche 
Form er auch erhalten moge, sich lediglich nur mit dem einzigen in den 
Convocatiorien angedruckten Verpfiegungsobject beschaftige und wei det 
Ihr alle mit diessem nicht in nothwendiger unumganglicher Beziehung 
stehende Gegenstande die etwa angeregt werden woUten ganz unbedingt 
von der Hand weisen." 

^Instructions to von Dohm, June 29 {Berlin Archives). 

^E, g., Haberlin's Staatsarchiv , iii, 46-48. 

* Von Dohm's reports and Gronau's vo7i Dohm, 314, 316. 

^ The archival material on the Congress after June, 1796, is surprisingly 
scarce. Haberlin's Staatsarchiv , vols, iii, iv and v, contains some ac- 
count of the proceedings of both sessions. Vol. iii is the most valuable 


The importance of the Congress lies not in its dehber- 
ations, but in its connection with the general plan of 
putting neutrality on a solid basis, and in the possibility, 
not unperceived at that time, of developing it into a per- 
manent legislative body for a North German hegemony 
under Prussian leadership. Haugwitz was directing 
Prussian policy at this time on the supposition that the 
Empire was dissolved, and that each state Vv^as free to 
seek its own selfish interest." But though the Exigencies 
of a financial difficulty had revived and modified an old 
legislative expedient, there were no men like Henry 11. 
of England in the Prussia of those days to develop from 
it a political confederation or a Zollverein.'' Many men 
of the time saw possibilities of new combinations of Ger- 
man states, and naturally enough thought along the lines 
in which Frederick the Great and his Fiirstenbund had 
trained them.^ But the dominance of non-German ele- 

on the subject. The subject of the Congress of Hildesheim will be 
treated in a dissertation by Herr cand. phil. Ad. Schulze of the Univer- 
sity of Gottingen. 

^ Conversation with Haugwitz reported by von Ompteda in his de- 
spatch of August 20, 1796. {Hanover Archives.) 

^In von Dohm's instructions of April, 1796, is a paragraph on the 
desirability of the free exportation of grain among the associated states, 
particularly if accompanied by measures against grain exportation to 
non-associated lands. It is insisted that all states be bound by majority 
rule and if any state does not contribute, it is to be proceeded against 
militarily. Obstreperous subjects in any state are to be put down at 
once by Prussian troops at von Dohm's call. 

^See, e. g., Massenbach, Memoiren, ii, 103. Haugwitz often defined 
his object as that of making the king of Prussia ' * the Emperor of North 
Germany," cf. Denkwurdigkeiten . . . Hardenbergs, ii, 13. This is 
doubly interesting when brought into connection with the plan of divid- 
ing the Empire, which, according to Lord Carysfort, Haugwitz and the 
Duke of Brunswick had drafted and discussed. Grenville, then in Ber- 
lin, on a special mission to secure Prussia's participation in the Second 
Coalition, writes, June 11, 1799 {English Record Office), "Whatever 


ments such as Russian influence and Polish interests/ hin- 
dered the development of a solid structure upon the Hil- 
desheim Congress, which Haugwitz himself once des- 
ignated as a corner-stone upon which to erect Prussian 
dominance in North Germany.^ 

Meanwhile there had been arranged at Paris and in 
Berlin the treaty by which the French acknowledged the 
Demarcation Line which the Prussians were so anxious 
to establish, and the Prussians accepted the French condi- 

may be the decision of this Court upon the question of War with France, 
I cannot beheve that they will ever be sincerely willing to abandon their 
favorite System of Neutrality for the North of Germany: I am indeed 
persuaded that they look to that system not only as offering to them 
security against a French War, but that they consider the Power or 
Influence of Prussia in Europe, as well as in the Empire, to be consid- 
erably increased by this German Confederacy in which Prussia [has] the 
Weight and Influence of all who accede to this their favourite System 
and I have thought that I have observed that in every Plan of general 
Concert and of final Arrangement which Count Haugwitz has ever dis- 
cussed with me, this Prussian Confederacy in the Empire has always 
shown itself to be the most prominent feature in his political Conversa- 
tions." Haugwitz, in \i\^ Memoires (Ranke, Works, 47, 305), written 
after his retirement, says: **Les liens qui reunissaient la Saxe, le Han- 
ovre, la Hesse et les autres princes dont les etats se trouvaient a I'abri 
de la ligne de demarcation se basaient sur la surete et I'interet commun. 
Revenu de ces fausses idees dont autrefois on avait farci les tetes, de ces 
idees extravagantes, de pretendue dignite et de gloire, I'aigle prussien 
couvrait de ses ailes ses etats voisins sans charger le sien du poids de ses 
efforts. Ce fut alors qu'il remplissait sa haute destinee." 

^The chapter on the Prussian occupation of Hanover in 1801, indicates 
how Russian interference put a bar to the development of a Prussian 
hegemony. Dr. Bailleu suggests Polish interests, which from the time 
of the treaty of Basel had diverted Prussian energies from the German 

* Cf. his memorials of Jan. 5, 1799, and Oct. 28, 1799, in Bailleu, i, 
268 and 343, 344. Also Dr. Bailleu's essay in Hohenzollern Jahrbuch, 
1897. Wohlwill, in the essay already referred to in Hist. Zeif., 1884, 
415, considers the Hildesheim Congress one of the efforts at Prussian- 
German unification which has not been sufficiently studied. 


tion, that is, the unconditional surrender of the west 
bank of the Rhine, with indemnification of the German 
powers, by giving them secularized lands on the right 
bank/ The surrender of their plans on Hanover and the 
Hanseatic cities, through whose seizure and exploitation 
they might hope to replenish their treasury while dealing 
the crown and commerce of England a telling blow, was 
the great sacrifice the French made."* They did it hesi- 
tatingly and unwillingly. They would have much pre- 
ferred, if they could not occupy it themselves, to have 
divided the Electorate ^ or to have turned it over to 
Prussia for herself* or for the indemnification of the 
Prince of Orange.* The acceptance of the Demarcation 
Line meant not only a lessened area for French military 
operations, but the approval of Prussia's plan to station 
a considerable force in the lower Rhine region threaten- 
ing Holland.^ It meant also that Hamburg could not 
be punished for its refusal to receive a French envoy.^ 
All long-cherished plans for attacking the Electorate 
must be laid aside,^ and such a concession, in view of 

' G^py of the treaty in DeClerq, Recueil des Traitis de la France, i, 
275 ff. Hiiffer notes that in the fall of 1795 a German ofifered a prize of 
4,000 fr. for the best essay on the reasons why France should have the 
Rhine as a border and the prize was won by a former Prussian ofiicial. 
Hiififer, i, 197. 

'^Rewbell to Sandoz. Bailleu, i, 45, dd. 

•'Reinhard to Hardenberg, Hist. Zeit., 1884, pp. 412, 413. 

* Hiififer, i, 308. ^Barthelemy, v, 205, 206. 

^ Hist. Zeit., 1884, 4i5. 

' Bailleu, i, 67. 

''Documents summarized by Wohlwill in Hist. Zeit., 1884, 408 ff, 
supplement the reports in Bailleu, i, in showing the danger in which 
Hanover stood. The Directory rejected the suggestion of Caiilard that 
they make a separate treaty with Hanover. See also Hiiffer, Diplo- 
matische Verhandlungen, i, 307 and Haugwitz memorial of Jan. 30, 
1797 in Bailleu, i, 112 ff. 


public opinion and military considerations, was no easier 
now than the preceding year at the treaty of Basel. 
But Prussia was insistent; oral promises would not suf- 
fice; and thus, aided by their great successes in the sum- 
mer campaign of 1796,' they sold their favors at the 
highest price possible, namely, the Prussian approval of 
the cession of the left bank of the Rhine. Prussia, whose 
losses on that side were not heavy, received in return for 
its abandonment of an area that was distinctly Imperial 
the promise of territorial increase,^ and, as a salve to the 
injury suffered by its pride when the treaty of Basel had 
failed to become an Imperial peace under Prussian leader- 
ship, it received the French acknowledgment of the 
neutrality of North Germany protected by a Prussian 
Demarcation Line and Army.^ 

The conclusion of the peace was a personal triumph 
for Haugwitz.-^ To all the difificulties created by the 
French unwillingness to forego their plans against Han- 
over and the Hanseatic cities, had been added the reluct- 

' See Hiiffer, i, 208 ff. for a sketch of the military operations. It is to 
be noticed that they delayed ratification until Jourdan's reverses lost 
them what the summer campaign had gained. Haugwitz himself saw 
that the French victories threatened to put all Europe at their mercy. 
Cf. Bailleu, i, 269. 

'Upon which they began to plan immediately. Cf. summary of von 
Alvensleben's Denkschrift in Hiififer, i, 309. The treaty promised them 
but a modest amount of secularized territory. 

'This, it seems to me, is the light in which one may best understand 
the policy and its defence by Haugwitz in his Denkschrift of January 30, 
1797, in Bailleu, i, 112 fif. 

*That it was his work, see his own claim in Ranke, Works, 47, 284. 
See also Alvensleben's testimony in Bailleu, i, 152. He says that 
Haugwitz had received verbal orders from the king and that the other 
members of the department were in ignorance of the king's views and 
of the negotiations. 


ance of his sovereign/ encouraged by more aggressive 
advisers like Hardenberg and Hohenlohe, and the activity 
of England and Russia seeking to draw Prussia into a 
coalition against France. That he had avoided these* 

^ See king to Haugwitz on July 9, 1796 in Huffer, i, 309. On the 
13th the king left for Pyrmont where the English agent, Hammond, 
planned to lay siege to him (Bailleu, i, 532), Hammond was encour- 
aged by a conversation he had had on August 11 with the Duke of 

Brunswick at Minden. The Duke assured Hammond," that from 

the different conversations which he had had with the King of Prussia, 
at Minden and Pyrmont, he perceived his Majesty's mind to be in a 
state of the greatest agitation, that his personal Hatred of the French 
had increased to an height almost incredible in consequence of the viola- 
tion of their Engagements with Him as to the light in which the terri- 
tory of Cleves was to be considered and of the separate Pacification 
which they had concluded with the Princes of the Empire without his 
intervention and on conditions so unjustifiably rigid that by the conduct 
of the French in this last point the Principal Object of the King in con- 
cluding the Treaty of Basle — the expectation of becoming the Mediator 
if not for Europe at least for the Empire — was entirely defeated. For 
these reasons the Duke considered the present as one of the most fav- 
orable periods that could have been chosen for the negotiations in which 
I was employed." Hammond's despatch of August 17, 1796 {English 
Record Office) . The treaty with the French had been agreed on July 
16, three days after the king left for Pyrmont, and its formal conclusion 
was delayed till August 5, av/aiting Caillard's full povv^ers. (Kiiffer, i,, 

'His actions must have completely mystified the English. Lord El- 
gin's letters of May 9 and later, show Haugwitz listening encouragingly 
to offers of subsidies. The Duke of Brunswick told Hammond {sup. 
cit.) that Haugwitz and the king could be counted on for action if the 
opposition party did not start too many difftculties respecting the 
finances, and the danger from Russia and Austria in Poland. On Aug. 
23, Haugwitz solemnly declared to Austria and England that Prussia 
neither had any other relations with France than Basel nor was she 
negotiating any. The secret provisions of the treaty of August 5, 1796 
were first revealed to Russia in February, 1797. See F. Martens, Re- 
cueil des Traitis conclus par le Russie, vi, 252-253. By the St. Peters- 
burg-London-Berlin route they reached Hanover where the Regency 
had been seeking most anxiously to learn them, fearing that they con- 
cerned Hanover's fate by making it part of Prussia's indemnity. 


without for a moment countenancing the pro-French 
views of Prince Henry and his party/ or being discour- 
aged by the petty spirit displayed by the states whom he 
had drawn together at the Congress of Hildesheim, thus 
making possible the realization of his plans of a neu- 
trality system, constitutes, in Haugwitz's own words, his 
claim to the gratitude of his countrymen.'' He had, he 
thought, founded a ''system which is to survive the 
present and live on to times most distant." ^ 

An adequate account of that period of Prussian history 
covered by the neutrality system, to establish which 
Hardenberg and Haugwitz did so much, remains as yet 
unwritten. The limits of this brief study will allow only 
a sketch of one or two features of it in the years between 
1796 and 1 80 1. A paragraph or two on the Demarca- 
tion Army, and a mention of some of the occasions when 
the adherence of Frederick William IH., if not that of 
his ministry, to the neutrality system, kept Hanover and 
North Germany free from the exactions of the French 
invader, is the extent of the outline vv^hich can be given 
in this chapter. 

The army which finally gathered under the command 
of the Duke of Brunswick — the '' Demarcation heroes,'' 
as the sarcastic ones called them — consisted nominally 

' The Prince was as active as ever in the French cause. He had been 
writing the Duke of Brunswick on the subject of a Franco-Prussian alli- 
ance. Cf. Hammond's despatch of Aug. 17, 1796 {sup. cit.). 

^ See below. 

'Haugwitz's words. Cf. Ranke, Works, 47, 292; also p. 290. In his 
Fragment des Memoires, written as a reply to Walter Scott's History of 
Napoleon, and published in 1837, Haugwitz gives a glowing description 
of the neutrality system to which he adhered for twelve years. See p. 
37 of the Fragment, etc. 


of 25,000 Prussians under Bliicher, 15,000 Hanoverians^ 
under Wallmoden and Freytag, and several thousand 
Brunswick troops. It is likely that its actual enrollment 
fell below its nominal strength,* and that the system of 
furloughing still further reduced the strength as well as 
the expense of the force.^ The army was stationed along 
the line of the Weser with the commander's headquarters 
at Minden, where Stein was for part of the time charged 
with the duty of looking after Prussia's share in the pro- 
visioning. After the two sessions of the Congress of 
Hildesheim, von Dohm seems to have been the sole di- 
recting force in making the necessary arrangements. 
Hanover continued its efforts to lessen its expenditures 
on behalf of the Army, by urging its considerable reduc- 
tion in strength."* But certain dangers, real or exag- 
gerated, enabled Haugwitz to keep the reluctant Regency 
up to its task ; ^ such were the constantly recurring 

*The composition of the Hanoverian Corps is detailed in the Regency's 
communication to Ompteda, March 30, 1796. See also on the subject, 
von Sichart, Gesch. d. Konigl. Hcmnoverschen Armee, vol. 4. 

''■Cf. von Alvensleben's Denkschrift of Oct. i, 1797, Bailleu, i, 153. 

'^Cf. Ompteda's report of June 2"], 1797, in no. 549 {Hanover Ar- 
chives) . 

* Cf., e. g., Regency to king, Nov. 13, 1796, in no. 1126a, /. 

^The burden of the army was considerable. The notes kept by von 
Dohm and used by his biographer show that from June, 1796, to the end of 
1800, the expenditures for the Prussian troops were 9,264,384 thalers, of 
which the Prussian provinces paid 2,360,841 thalers. Including expenses 
of mobilizing, etc., the Prussian treasury, up to the end of March, 1801, 
had paid out, according to official report, 5,074,597 thalers, 23 gr., 4 pf. 
From the end of June, 1796, to the end of June, 1800, the other prov- 
inces, including Hanover, which, as we saw, paid at least one-half of 
the total cost, expended in provisions or cash, 5,246,555 thalers. Cf, 
Gronau, von Dohm (Lemgo, 1824), p. Z7^' In January, 1799, Haug- 
witz estimated the army at 50,000 men, including the troops of Saxony, 
and the cost to Prussia for its support since July i, 1796, at 2,138,206 


rumors of French plans, the example of Napoleon's 
dealings with Venice, the treaty of Campo Formio, 
which was thought to enable the French to pursue plans 
dangerous to the tranquillity of Hanover and the Han- 
seatic cities. 

That the Army was never called from its scattered 
cantonments to play an active part in history-making, 
cannot be explained by the wholly tranquil course of 
affairs between 1796 and 1801. The very foundation of 
the neutrality system was racked and strained in the 
vortex of diplomatic intrigue which found its center in 
Berlin/ With contending armies hurrying forward to 
battle on every frontier of the neutralized area, and hos- 
tile diplomats exerting every pressure to draw Prussia 
as an ally back into the camps of war, the maintenance of 
neutrality did not signify the supineness so often pic- 
crowns (ecus). Councilor Rose, speaking in 1832, estimated the cost of 
the Demarcation Army at 5,000,000 thalers. Quoted by Fr. Thimme, 
Innere Zustande des Kurfurstenthums Hannover, i, 38, note 2. 

^ Sieyes arrived in the summer of 1798 as ambassador from France 
with the special object of securing Prussia's co-operation with France. 
Bailleu gives the necessary documents for following his efforts. See 
also Ranke's account in his Hardenberg, i, pp. 401 fif. Early in the 
same year General Stamfort, who, though representative of the Prince 
of Orange, was in English pay, and M. Deluc, the French teacher of 
Queen Caroline of England, arrived in Berlin with a plan of an English- 
Prussian alliance, which the Berlin cabinet rejected. Then, in 1799, came 
Th. Grenville, as special envoy with the avowed object of rousing Prus- 
sia to action with the allies. The story of these unsuccessful missions 
is to be found in the despatches of Elgin and Grenville, in the English 
Record Office, Foreign Office, Prussia, nos. 47-55. The mission in 
1798 is the beginning of Deluc's diplomatic activity which continued 
in Berlin for several years (z/^oT^ following chapter). Deluc, who as a 
Swiss scholar had shown Rousseau the Castle of Chillon, and who at 
ninety listened approvingly to the reading of Byron's description of the 
castle (Byron to Murray, April 9, 1817, Th. Moore, Life of Lord Byron, 
p. 350 [London, 1844]), is an interesting figure to whom the writer in 
the Dictionary of National Biography does scant justice. 


tured. Effective neutrality meant readiness for aggres- 
sive war. The leading statesmen of Prussia in the period 
had shown their appreciation of that fact in the early 
discussion of a Demarcation Army, and the sponsor for 
the system, Count Haugwitz, testified, as we shall see, 
still more clearly in the summer of 1799, that he had 
grasped the idea that a neutral Prussia could remain 
such only so long as it could be made to appear like a 
giant who had chosen to rest with arms in hand. 

The period which ensued after Prussia had definitely 
established neutrality for North Germany granted the 
States behind the Demarcation Line the boon of a long- 
desired peace. For the next ten years, while the rest of 
Europe was the battlefield of contending armies, Prussia 
and the coterie of states her new German policy had 
gathered around her, enjoyed an intellectual and commer- 
cial renaissance. The fertile fields of North Germany 
from Silesia to Hamburg became the granary from which 
the warring powers drew their supplies. The coipmerce 
on the great rivers and in the ports at their mouths, the 
neutral and contraband carrying trade on the high seas, 
added to the wealth that poured into this peaceful isle 
amid the swirl of revolutionary wars. " Prussia . . . be- 
came the center where immense fortunes from France, 
the Netherlands, Holland, a part of Germany, from Switz- 
erland, and even from Italy, were successively deposited 
as in a place of safety, so that the overflowing banks and 
treasuries of Berlin offered but three per cent, on the 
funds which elsewhere yielded the depositors four, five, 
and even six per cent." ^ In matters of culture the 
period of neutrality must be reckoned the most productive 

^ Report of Hudelist, Austrian attache, Sept. 9, 1799. Cf. Bailleu, i, 


in the history of German literature. History, poetry, the 
drama, art, philology, philosophy and political science 
found havens in the peace-encircled courts and univer- 
sities of North Germany. Names which posterity might 
never have known in their full grandeur had the land 
been a prey to the rapine and exhaustion of war, fixed 
themselves forever in the galaxy of Germany's great. 
Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Voss, Wolf, Goethe, Schiller — 
these names testify to the fact that Germany in the period 
of neutrality was laying the foundations for at least in- 
tellectual unity.^ 

As one looks back over the period from the political 
point of view, Prussia seems to be slowly finding herself. 
Though dragged down by the alien Polish provinces, 
cramped by inherited institutions and social forms, and 
handicapped by the lack of incisive leadership, she ap- 
pears, for the time being, to have set her feet in the 
paths that led to the political eminence which her 
previous history and her geographical position decreed 
to her. Weak and tortuous as the diplomacy of the 
Prussian statesmen seems at times, it must not be for- 
gotten that there was more hope for the unity of North 
Germany under Prussian leadership in the declaration of 
the debauchee king, Frederick William II., that a French 
invasion of Hanover meant war, than there was in the 
whole reign of his great predecessor, who had callously 
invited the French to occupy Hanover in the very heart 
of his domains. If to this it be replied that Frederick 
the Great was the founder of a Fiirstenbund, it may be 
well to remind ourselves that the aged monarch only 
sought union with his hitherto despised German neigh- 
bors as a last covert for Prussia in her European isola- 

* Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 331-333. 


tion,^ and that the Fiirstenbund, unlike the Neutrality 
System, never raised an army nor called together a legis- 
lative body.^ It is only by directing our attention for a 
moment to the great transformations going on beyond 
the limits of Prussia's political influence that we shall be 
able to see why any internal weakness or wavering lead- 
ership would be disastrous in the prevailing condition of 

It cannot be too often repeated that the events of the 
period we are considering, and especially of the years 
compassed by this study, must always be read by the 
light of the flames that rose and fell in the land beyond 
the Rhine and the Vosges. The conflict of parties in 
revolutionary France can be understood only after a 
study of the foreign problems over which they struggled, 
and conversely, the result of the domestic conflicts is the 
determining factor in shaping the issues of peace or war 
through which France so vitally affected the tranquillity 
of the rest of Europe. Despite the triumph of the rad- 
ical faction in Paris in the fall of 1795, the party of the 
Moderates, whose watchword was the constitutional boun- 
daries of France, had been able to maintain a considerable 
influence in the government. The preliminaries of Leoben 
(April 18, 1797), which contained a recognition by the 
French of the integrity of the Empire, though they were 
coupled with doubtful references to France's legal bound- 
aries, seemed to warrant a hope that the Directory, to 

^ Hist. Zeit.^ vol. xli (n. s. 5), p. 410 ff. Der Ursprung des deutschen 
Furstenbundes, by Paul Bailleii. Students of Prussian history will be 
pleased to learn that Prof. Sidney B. Fay, of Dartmouth College, ex- 
pects to publish soon his study on Frederick the Great and the Fiirst- 

^ Cf. the suggestive essay by Dr. Bailleu in the Hohenzollern Jahr- 
buch, 1897. 


whose membership had been added Barthelemy the 
negotiator of the treaty of Basel, would leave Germany 
to readjust itself undisturbed by anything more than 
French interest in the matter of secularization and in- 
demnification/ But there were many yet unsatisfied, 
ambitious spirits who were ill content to see France 
sinking back into the ways of peace. Most powerful of 
these was the young Corsican whose fortune-given sword 
was pushing hard at the door of Opportunity. The tri- 
umph of the peace party meant the closing of that door 
and the end of his dreams of power and empire. The 
treaty of Campo Formio (October, 1797,) and the coup 
d'etat of the i8th Fructidor tell the story of his decision. 
The war spirit embodied in Napoleon Bonaparte had ex- 
tended France's boundaries to the Rhine. Savoy and 
Nice were hers; Italy owned her power; the Ionian Isles, 
non-French territory, were the stepping-stones to Egypt; 
India and colonial empire rose above the horizon. At 
home the party of reaction was crushed. Barthelemy 
was in prison, Pichegru banished, Carnot in flight. The 
press was throttled, and priest and noble again felt the 
persecution of the old laws. The revolutionary govern- 
ment henceforth cowered under the shadow of the mili- 
tary genius it had placed at the head of its armies in 
Italy. The diplomats of Europe had now to reckon with 
an incommensurable factor. Systems that might once 
have prevailed against a Republic torn by internal fac- 
tions would go down before the indomitable will of the 
one man who knew no law but his own boundless ambi- 
tion. The outlook for the peaceful development of Prus- 
sia's attempt to find in a union of the states of North 
Germany the basis for a sound and steady political devel- 

^ Hiiffer, Diplomatische Verhandlungen, i, 259 ff. 


opment was darkened by the events of the epochal year 
1797, which marks the union of the revolutionary move- 
ment with the genius of Napoleon.^ 

The full significance of the events of 1797 was not at 
once apparent. The fact that Austria, whose leadership 
had hitherto kept the Empire involved in the war against 
France, had finally, like Prussia, concluded a separate 
peace with the Republic, gave new vigor to the long 
drawn-out movement for an Imperial peace. The first 
motion looking to such a peace had been made, as has 
already been mentioned, in October, 1794. Such was the 
Imperial Diet's method of treating subjects of importance, 
that not until July following was the matter put in its 
final stage. The result was that Prussia, much to the 
disgust of the Austrians, was associated with the Em- 
peror in the work of opening the negotiations with France. 
This barren triumph of Prussia's was due, let it be re- 
marked in passing, to the vote and influence of the Han- 
overian delegate, von Ompteda, who here definitely 
abandoned the leadership of Austria for that of Prussia. 
As the matter really lay in the hands of the Emperor, 
nothing came of the appointment of a delegation of 
sixty-eight members, in which Hanover, as the Duchy of 
Bremen, was represented by Baron von Reden, then Han- 
overian agent to the Upper Rhine Circle. At his side, 
as legal adviser, was placed the learned Professor Martens, 
of Gottingen, well known to modern scholars through 
his great Collection of Treaties. These appointments 
were made in October, 1795. In July, 1797, the Regency 
added to the delegation von Schwarzkopf, Hanoverian 
envoy in Frankfort. But the Electorate, which hoped, by 
an Imperial peace, to make still more certain its own neu- 

^ Hohenzollern Jahrbuch, 1897, p. 128. 


trality in case England continued the war/ was obliged 
to wait until the victories of Napoleon over Austria and 
the treaty of Campo Formio prepared the way for the 
convening of the peace congress at Rastatt in November, 

The disastrous end of the Congress of Rastatt in the 
murder of the French negotiators in April, 1799, ^^s 
given it an immortality that not all its year and a half of 
fruitless negotiation could have secured it. Much has 
been published about its labors,^ and great masses of 
unpublished material must lie in the archives of many a 
German principality. The reports of the pompous von 
Reden, the learned, legal arguments of his pedantic col- 
league. Professor von Martens, and the essays of that jovial 
young diplomat, von Schwarzkopf,^ reveal Hanoverian 

^In the years 1797 and 1798, particularly after the treaty of Campo 
Formio, Hanover was very apprehensive that the French would resume 
their plans for attacking Hanover as a means of bringing England to 
terms. See Hist. Zeit., 1884, 420 ff. Though very desirous of closing 
the Elbe and the Weser to English commerce, the French were more 
interested in securing a Prussian alliance and would scarcely have found 
it good policy to violate the Neutrality System. The rumors of danger 
from the French generals in Holland were so persistent that King Fred- 
erick William IH., uncertain what might be the effect on the Directory 
of his rejection of their offer of an alliance, was moved, in 1798, to give 
the Duke of Brunswick full power to repel any hostile French move- 
ment against Hanover or the Hansa cities. The letter dated May 17, 
1798, is in Bailleu, i, 206-207. The subject of the danger from the 
French army and its ambitious generals occupies a goodly space in the 
despatches of the Regency during these years. It is interesting to note 
that this is the period when von Berlepsch was urging the French to 
invade his native state. About this same time there was submitted to 
the Directory a plan for erecting a republic in North Germany of which 
Hanover was to form the central part. Cf. Hist. Zeit. , 1884, 422 and 424. 

^ See Hiiffer, Der Rastatter Congress und die Zweite Coalition (Bonn, 

^See Ritter von Lang's Memoiren, pt. i, 318. Schwarzkopf's forty- 
six essays on the members of the Congress and on life in Rastatt are 
in Cal. Br, Des., 11 ^ E, II., 404 b {Hanover Archives) . 


policy as it passed from the high righteousness of insist- 
ence on the integrity of the Empire/ to the low level of 
bribing rival negotiators '^ in order that Hanover might 
be assured of its share of the plunder distributed as in- 
demnification. Given their first opportunity to come in 
direct communication with the government at Paris, the 
Regency of Hanover showed itself as anxious as the 
Prince of Thurn and Taxis to conciliate the Directory. 

As the action of the Hanoverian delegation was 
hardly creditable, it had also no distinct effect on the 
course of negotiations. Hanover had at first some faint 
idea of forming a third party — other than the Austrian 
and Prussian factions — in the Imperial delegation. But 
the Hanoverian " System " met with no encouragement 
from Saxony, whose support it was expected to com- 
mand. ^ Consequently, von Reden and his colleagues 
fell back on a fairly steady policy of co-operation with 
Prussia and Saxony.*^ Kept by the Austrian court in 
ignorance of the result of the negotiations at Campo 
Formio in October, 1797, it was to Prussia that Han- 
over turned, while it viewed with strong suspicion the 
plans and suggestions of the Austrian delegation. ^ It 
was the co-operation of Prussia and Hanover in this 

'George III., in his rescript to the Regency, is several degrees more 
emphatic on the subject of preserving the Empire in its integrity than 
the Regency is. See king to Regency April 21, 1797, in no. 1144 
{Han. Archs.). The first instructions to von Reden are in Cal. Br. 
Des., 11, E. /., nos. 1129 and 1149. 

^ See reports from May to July, 1798, in no. 1159 {Han. Arch.). Any 
biographer of von Dohm should examine the material in this fascicle. 

^ Hanover and Saxony were in very general agreement throughout the 
Congress. For an instance, see Hiiffer, Rastatter Congress, i, 216, 217. 

*Huffer, sup. cit., pt. ii, 189. 

'HiifTer, Rastatter Congress, i, 109, notes this hostility to the Em- 


field that alone would demand at least this brief mention 
of the Congress of Rastatt. ^ 

Had the Congress of Rastatt accomplished its intended 
work, the conclusion of the treaty would have raised 
interesting questions as to the status of the Neutrality 
System and the continuance of the Demarcation Army. 
If Hanover had not succeeded in securing from the 
French a special acknowledgment of its inclusion in the 
peace arrangements/ the Electorate might have found 
itself exposed to French hatred of its sovereign and his 
English policies, with no other resource than to call on 
Prussia to occupy. But the outbreak of the Franco- 
Austrian war put an end to the deliberations at Rastatt, 
and to the hopes it had raised of a Franco-Imperial 

In the situation created by the renewal of hostilities 
and the formation of the Second Coalition, Count Haug- 
witz sought, on the one hand, to avoid all entangle- 
ments with France which had long been attempting to 
draw Prussia into bonds closer than those established by 
the treaties of Basel and of Aug. 5, 1796; on the other, 
while chary of offending Napoleon, he hoped to maintain 
friendly relations with his enemies, England, Russia and 
Austria.3 If a choice had to be made and isolation aban- 

' It can hardly come within the purview of this monograph to exploit 
the pros and cons of the cession of Biiderichsinsel, the dismantlino; of 
Ehrenbreitenstein and the abolition of the Elsfletherzoll. Prof. Mar- 
ten's legal opinions and drafts of treaties would in themselves make a 
stout volume. 

^This was one of the points in von Reden's instructions. All the 
essential material for an account of Hanover's part in the Congress at 
Rastatt is to be found in Cal. Br. Des., 11, E. III., no. 67. Nos. 1128, 
1129, 1149, 1150a and 1161 of the same category contain duplicates and 
some unimportant additional material. 

' Bailleu, i, 267. Haugwitz expressed himself in similar terms to 
Deluc in August, 180 1. 


doned, as seemed to him necessary in July, 1799/ it was 
to the EngHsh-Russian camp that Haugwitz would lead 
the armies of Prussia. But the vigorous policy of the 
minister did not meet the approval of the young king 
who in the first important decision of his reign chose the 
part of inaction, hoping thus to postpone the explosion 
until a more convenient time.^ It was the king now, as 
it was the king in 1803, who shrank in weakness and in- 
decision from a positive line of action. It was Haugwitz 
now, as it was Haugwitz always, whose weakness and false 
loyalty to his sovereign led him to abandon the ideas of 
public welfare to which he had set his name and made 
him remain to execute in silence that which he had 
condemned, but for which, as leading minister, he would 
be held responsible.^ 

^Bailleu, i, 311 ff. Haugwitz had favoured a connection with Eng- 
land and Russia before this. See his memorial of May 5, 1799, Bailleu, 
i, 283 fT. and Lombard's opinion of it, p. 289. 

''See the king's letter of July 17, 179Q, Bailleu, i, 316 fT. and Sieyes 
despatch written in May, 1799, in Bailleu, i, 500. Woronzow in 
London says, " II est presque decide que le roi de Prusse restera a la 
fenetre pour voir ce qui passera dehors." Das Archiv des Fursten 
Woronzow, viii, 214. (Moscow, 1870-1884.) 

Grenville incloses in his despatch from Berlin, April 25, 1799, a copy 
of a note verbale which Baron Finckenstein had handed to Count 
Dietrichstein, the Austrian ambassador, on April 15. It is a reply to 
the arguments advanced at a conference of April 7 in which the Prus- 
sian representative had met Dietrichstein, Panin (for Russia) and 
Grenville. It announces the king's determination to adhere to the 
prevailing system which could on occasion be made offensive. ** Le 
Roi n'hesite pas de placer au nombre de ces chances (i) T invasion de 
I'electorat d'Hanovre." Other sufficient reasons for Prussia's tak- 
ing the field, are the violation by the French of the mouths of the Elbe 
and Weser, and interrupting English communications with the con- 
tinent, an attack on Hamburg, the Prussian provinces in Franconia or 
Saxony. {English Record Office.) 

' In the crisis of 1803, when the king failed to approve plans whose 


It was the misfortune of Prussia to have, in Frederick 
Wilham, its Louis XVI., a king who, to a mediocre abil- 
ity that made counselors necessary, joined a narrowness 
of spirit and a high sense of his own authority, which did 
not allow him to tolerate among them men of force and 
ideas. Thus throughout these crucial years a king with 
limited views and no inceptive power was supported by 
men, who, while they had ideas, lacked the higher patriot- 
ism and the strength to support them by a refusal to 
lead where royal weakness pointed the way. It was to 
Stein and Hardenberg, and not to Haugwitz and Lom- 
bard, that the nation and, perforce, the monarch, turned 
in the times when a strong hand was required at the 
helm. We touch here, let it be remarked in passing, the 
great misfortune of Prussian policy in the years between 
1795 and 1806. It is that the leading ministers, whether 
in the light of recent investigation they be thought weak 
or strong, wise or incapable, did not in their own day 
possess the confidence of their country or of the rest of 
Europe. Judged by the light they had, this is the heav- 
iest indictment that can be brought against the advisers 
of Frederick William III.^ 

execution Haugwitz felt to be vital to Prussia's existence, the minister 
talked some of resigning but concluded " Mon devoir est d' obeir et des 
que le roi mon maitre ne veut point entendre parler de cette occupation, 
jerenonceamon projet." F. Martens: Recueil des Traitis conclus par 
la Russie, vi, 310. 

^ On the lack of ministerial responsibility in this period see a recently- 
published reform proposal of Gentz's in the Hist. Zeit., 89, 239 ff. 
Ompteda, Die Ueberwdltigung Hannovers durch die Franzosen (p. 70) , 
points out the disastrous effects of this lack of confidence in 1803. 


The Prussian Occupation of Hanover in i8oi 

Intensive study of certain periods, certain institutions, 
certain men in the field of European history, leads also 
to an extension that brings within the student's purview 
the whole continent with its complex of national inter- 
ests, or whole centuries with their genetic relations to 
one another. Luther, the Church, Louis XIV., repre- 
sentative government, the French Revolution, Napoleon, 
are great centres toward which all roads of study, no 
matter how remote their starting point, seem to lead. 
In no period is it more difficult to delimit one's field, while 
yet preserving true proportion, than in the revolutionary 
and Napoleonic era. The topic to which this chapter is 
to be confined is the diplomatic preliminaries ending in 
the occupation of Hanover by the Prussians in April, 
1801. Simple and very local in its interest as this seems, 
we must follow the thread through the web and woof of 
all Europe's politics in the months preceding Prussia's 
unwilling abandonment of the neutrality system. 

The inconstancy of the Czar of all the Russias, Paul 
the First, and the "masterly inactivity" of Prussian 
neutrality, the humiliation of Austria at Marengo and 
Hohenlinden, left France, left Napoleon at the close of 
1800 with but one great foe — England and Pitt. 

England still stood out against France. Others might 

be uncertain as to the reality of the danger to them from 

the new France and be led by this and by exhaustion to 
192 [630 

63 1 ] PR V SSI AN O ecu PA TION OF HANO VER 1 93 

peace. But England, true to her commercial and colonial 
instinct and interests, was conscious earlier in the strug- 
gle even than France itself, that the contest was one to 
the bitter end. With the dominance of Napoleon in the 
consular government, France began to develop those 
ideas which one finds occasionally in the policy of the 
Directory.^ She saw through Napoleon's eyes who her 
real enemy was, and what the means were that would 
cripple her. It is after the failure of all efforts to sub- 
due England by crushing her continental allies that sug- 
gestions are renewed, in which one sees the ideas of the 
Continental System clearly foreshadowed. With these 
plans comes a definite revival, in more aggressive form, 
of the idea of Hanover as a continental possession of 
England, which may be so handled as to bring Eng- 
land's monarch to terms. 

The not too imposing military strength of Prussia and 
her North German allies was not sufficient to shut out 
from the French mind the possibility of violating the 
neutrality of North Germany. The occasion need only 
be urgent. In all the years after 1795, or after August, 
1796, Prussia could never feel sure that there was not 
real purpose back of the numerous rumors of French 
intentions against Hanover and the Hanseatic cities. 
The region was without doubt of great importance to 
England for the sake of the grain and naval stores that 
were shipped from its ports. The Elbe and Weser tapped 
the great granary of North Germany, and a free highway 
to the sea along those rivers involved the prosperity of 

^As early as March 4, 1796, a dispatch from Reinhard, the French 
envoy in Hamburg, on the closing of the Elbe and the Weser, shows 
he has the germ idea for a continental system. Hist. Zeit., 1884, 412. 
See also letter of Sieyes, July 14, 1798, Bailleu, i, 481. 


German provinces as distant as Silesia.^ France knew 
the importance to herself of the region and its commerce, 
and considered that it must be far more important to the 
trade of England. 

Here then was the opportunity to live up to the Napo- 
leonic motto of striking the enemy wherever found. The 
English fleets had shown themselves a wooden wall which 
the genius of Napoleon could not surmount. Her com- 
merce with the continent and the German states of her 
reigning house seemed England's only vulnerable points. 
The most ready victim of its sovereign's English wars, 
the electorate of Hanover, was protected only by a 
treaty and the army of an exhausted land and a peace- 
at-any-price sovereign. It might also be argued that the 
conclusion of a French peace with the Empire ended the 
neutrality of Hanover ; moreover the geographical loca- 
tion of Hanover, as has been indicated, made it possible 
for the French, through a hostile occupation, to accom- 
plish the double aim of separating Hanover from England 
and England from the continent. The two ideas were, 
from the first, closely associated. To close the Elbe and 
Weser to English commerce was to hamper materially 
two lines of egress for supplies to Great Britain. The 
occupation of Hanover would give a vantage point from 
which not only these rivers and the Hansa cities, but the 
whole North of Germany might be shut to English trade. 
A master stroke of French policy it would be to accom- 
plish all this through Prussia, and thus involve Frederick 
William HI. in Hanoverian affairs in such a way as to 
range him on the side of England's enemies.'' 

' Silesian merchants appeared in Berlin in 1801 to protest against any 
action of Prussia's that would result in closing the outlets for their 

"^ Hausser, ii, 344, 345, on basis of Lucchesini's despatches. Luc- 


Two ways to this end lay open. The offer of Hanover 
as an indemnity for Prussia's losses beyond the Rhine 
seemed a bait at which the ''landbegierige" Prussian 
ministry would readily snap, and possibly they could 
carry the king with them. The co-operation of Russia 
and the pressure of the Maritime League opened a sec- 
ond unexpected way of forcing the Prussian hand to 
strike a blow at England's crown. If these had failed, 
as they once seemed in a fair way to do, there remained 
an actual or threatened occupation of Hanover by France 
itself. And to France either alternative seemed equally 
advantageous. Action by either Prussia or her own 
generals would result in closing the rivers of North Ger- 
many, and Prussian occupation might be expected not 
only to estrange England, but to arouse the never dor- 
mant suspicion of Austria that Prussia would take Han- 
over for her indemnity. 

The idea that Prussia should possess herself of the 
German dominions of the English throne was not a Na- 
poleonic idea. As an effective idea in European politics 
it seems, however, to have been of French origin.' As 
soon as there was the hope of separating Prussia from 
the coalition in 1794-95, there came to the French the 
ideas of a Prussian alliance and of a Prussian seizure of 
Hanover, embroiling Prussia so that it would find itself 
favored by France alone should it retain Hanover. But 
strange as it may have seemed to the French government, 

chesini fathomed Napoleon's plan. See also Napoleon's Correspond- 
ance^ vi, 129. " A 'l2^t.yrz.nA\ Demande d* un Rapport sur lesMoyens 
d* engager la Prusse dans la Politique de la France.'* 

^The Papiers de Barthilemy (ed. Kaulek), so often cited in chapter 
two, show how hostile France was to Hanover. Gervinus in Paris in 
1795 hears the "alberne Idee" of Hanover for Prussia. Cf. Bailleu, i, 
397, 400. 


the idea was not accepted by the'^king of Prussia or his 
advisers. They were not blind to its advantages, but 
they were true to higher obligations. There was not a 
single public utterance of the responsible ministers of the 
Prussian kings between 1795 and January i, 1801, that 
could seriously disturb the repose of the neighboring 
Electorate.^ Neither for himself nor for his landless 
relative, the Prince of Orange, would Frederick William 
II., or his successor, entertain the idea of seizing or di- 
viding Hanover."" But in successive years the proposi- 
tion re-appears, and Prussia in the period from the time 
it took Hanover under its protection by virtue of a treaty 
with the French, until it actually occupied the Electorate 
in April, 1801, was never free from the pressure of French 
intentions against the Electorate. ^ Despite the pressure 
of the French party at Berlin, Haugwitz had maintained 
himself in power and with him, despite all his shifting 
and tortuous methods, the neutrality of North Germany 
seemed in safe hands. When France alone threatened to 
violate it, he had shown himself ready to take arms in 
defense of his cherished system. The change of attitude 
in 1801, when Napoleon made evident his plans against 

' Nor have I ever found record of any private utterances except that of 
Hardenberg (see note, below), which could be cited as a basis of dis- 
trust. But one feels sure that there must have been talk of this kind in 
Berlin. Such a supposition alone explains in many instances the sus- 
picious tone of Hanoverian dispatches from Berlin or from the Regency 
to King George. 

"^ Hist. Zeit., 1884, 412, 413. Conversation between Reinhard and 

'Report of v. Reden, February 15, 1800, no. 580 {Hanover), and of 
Sandoz-Rollin from Paris in April (Hufifer, i, 321) and May 6, 1796, in 
Bailleu, i, (i^, and hints in Caillard's conversations as to Prussia's posi- 
tion on indemnity 1797-98. Bailleu, i, 470, 472. Also F. Martens, 
Recueil par la Russie, vi, 256. 


the Electorate, is to be attributed to the fear aroused by 
the violent and uncertain Czar whose armies lay along 
Prussia's most vulnerable side. Thus it v^^as that Napo- 
leon, aroused anew in 1800 and 1801 by the English, 
found the mad Czar of Russia unexpectedly serviceable 
in carrying out his ideas.' 

From hatred of France, bitter and extreme, Paul I. 
had, in violent reaction, become an enthusiastic admirer 
of Napoleon and an uncompromising foe of his recent 
ally, England. Early in 1800, there recurred rumors of 
the revival of the Maritime League of 1783.^ Documents 
published later ^ have shown the course of events which 
enabled Paul to push his plans so that by December 18, 
he had brought reluctant Denmark and Sweden^ and 
neutral Prussia to sign an agreement at St. Petersburg 
by which they bound themselves to the maintenance of 
neutral commerce on the high seas. It was to all appear- 
ances a protective measure. England was not men- 

^ V. Reden in his reports for the summer of 1800, e.g., July i, no. 
582 {Hanover Archives) , mentions how the French and Spanish minis- 
ters at Berlin are working for a league on the basis of the ideas of Cath- 
erine in 1781. Spain was further aroused by the affair in the harbor of 
Barcelona and secured Prussia's support in urging Sweden to a protest 
against the conduct of the English. Cf. Martens, Recueil, Suppl., ii, 
373 fif. July 22, 1800, V. Reden says the first move for the alliance was 
made in February, 1800, by Russia at Stockholm. That though this 
plan comes from St. Petersburg in its argumentation as to English com- 
merce, it is what the French papers have been urging. Von Reden's 
despatch of January 6, 1801, gives a remarkably clear expose of Napo- 
leon's interest in the league as a means of striking England in the same 
way the continental policy did. No. 582 {Hanover Archives). 

''The reports of von Reden, Hanoverian minister in Berlin and Carys- 
fort, the English ambassador, show that they did not think the league 
would be formed that year. 

^Martens, Supplimeni au Recueil, etc., vol. ii, 344 ff, 

*'Ibid., 388. Denmark and Sweden signed on Dec. -4, 1800. 



tioned. The whole convention reads as though the 
cases to be considered were simply foreseen as possible 
results of some distant war. Yet to any one who knew 
the position which Englishmen had held on the questions 
involved, who knew the " Ungestum " and capriciousness 
of the half insane Czar, who went back of Paul's views 
to those of the craftier Napoleon whose tool Paul was, 
it was clear that Prussia, by so readily joining the Mari- 
time League,^ had taken a decisive step towards entering 
the arena of European affairs from which it had with- 
drawn for six years. 

There could be no reason to hope that England would 
abate one jot or tittle from the position she had held in 
1781.^ To her merchants and statesmen the views she 
held on the subject of neutral commerce were bound up 
with her very existence and could only be yielded with 
it. For any power or powers to make a demand on 
England to recognize a different definition of contra- 
band, of a blockade, of the rights of enemies' goods in 

* According to F. Martens, the Russian proposition to renew the Mar- 
itime League "was immediately accepted " by Prussia. Cf. Recueildes 
Traitis, conclus . . . par la Russie, vi, 286. This readiness to join 
Russia is to be ascribed, not so much to the enthusiasm for the principles 
of the armed neutrality, as it is to a larger plan of playing a part between 
Russia and France and a desire to placate a powerful neighbor whose 
hostility would be most embarrassing. 

^Carysfort reports August 23, 1800, that everybody in Berlin is sure 
Great Britain will maintain the position she has assumed (after the cap- 
ture of a Danish vessel) . V. Reden reports the king of Prussia as say- 
ing, " Wenn die Englischen Minister mit ihren mercantilen Projecten 
nicht die ganze Welt aufbrachten, so ginge noch alles gut." V. Reden 
adds: "Dieses Wort des Konigs welches in der That manches Wahre in 
sich fasst, und die Halsstarrigkeit mit welcher das englische Minister- 
ium alle seine Plane von Handelsvergrosserungen mit Gewalt durch- 
setzen will ohne sich um die ganze iibrige Welt zu bekiimmern, setzen 
uns allerdings in die grosste Verlegenheit." No. 584 {Hanover), Feb- 
ruary 17, 1801. 


neutral vessels than those she herself chose to grant, was 
to the Englishmen of that day equivalent to announcing 
an alliance with France/ The English despatches and 
instructions to their representatives in foreign courts at 
this time, produce in the reader a profound impression 
of the terrible and uncompromising earnestness with 
which England was fighting at every point the battle for 
supremacy on the seas and in the world's markets. But 
the grandeur of a world power's struggle interests us 
for the present only because it is a vortex drawing into 
itself the fate of lesser and dependent powers. The un- 
fortunate ruler of England, himself the victim of a men- 
tal malady that from time to time eclipsed his mind, 
could be struck through a blow at his ancestral German 

France had long persisted in viewing Hanover as Eng- 
land's continental possession. The mad Paul was pos- 
sessed of the idea, and the weak and unwilling Frederick 
William III. of Prussia was to be made the instrument 
of revenge on a related house by oppressing a neighbor- 
ing province whose capital city had cradled his queen. 
Never was there in these eight years, from 1795 to 1803, 
a more striking illustration of Hanover's unfortunate 
position as a Zankapfel between Russia, Prussia, Eng- 
land and France ; never a better example of what their 
allegiance to the sovereign of England was likely to cost 
George IH.'s faithful German subjects. 

This is not the place to weigh the importance of the 
commercial interests whose protection might justify 
Prussia's entering the Maritime League. It is probable 
that the rather high-handed conduct of the English^ 

^ See instructions to Carysfort, August 22, 1800. {English Record 

^Favorable settlement of the case mentioned by Martens, Recueil 


would not have brought Prussia, with her growing 
carrying trade and lack of a navy, to join a league of 
maritime powers,^ if a stronger force had not been push- 
ing her on to this virtual abandonment of her neutral 
position. The move was made with reluctance. 

Throughout the summer of 1800 the Prussian cabinet 
had been essaying the role of mediator between France, 
Austria, Russia and England. To do this successfully 
meant to reap belated honors as the peace-maker of 
Europe, and to save the neutrality system from the rocks 
ahead. Above all it was necessary to bring England into 
the comity of nations. Peace between France and the 
powers, with England left out, would mean the revival 
by France of her former plans for seizing Hanover and 
closing the Elbe and Weser to English commerce. This 
failure to include England in the pacification would 
mean increased danger for Prussia;^ for there v/as not one 
iota of conciliation in the actions of the English navy. 
Neutral vessels, Danish, Swedish ^ and Russian, were 

SuppL, ii, 381, should not obscure the numerous vexatious cases which 
Jacobi and Balan, Prussia's ambassador and attache, were constantly- 
bringing to the notice of the British government. The real reason for 
modifying the term "high-handed" as regards Prussia is the exemp- 
tion of her vessels from the embargo laid by the English government on 
vessels of the members of the armed neutrality, January 14, 1801. 

^ The despatches between Carysfort in Berlin and Hawkesbury in Lon- 
don, if in any degree acceptable testimony on the question of Prussia's 
true interest, show that her hope of commercial success as a neutral 
carrier with no navy lay in not offending Great Britain. See the same 
view in v. Lenthe's Darstellung in Zeit. des historischen Vereins fuf 
Niedersachsen, 1856, 1 50-1 51. 

^ V. Reden's despatches of this summer follow these efforts and point 
out the danger to Hanover from England's persistent hostility to France. 
No. 580 {Hanover Archives) . 

^ Mention is made of English seizures of Swedish and Danish vessels 
in 1799 by Hudelist, Austrian charge, in Bailleu, i, 559. 


seized or searched in a most irritating manner.' The 
cabinet at St. James, unmoved by the moderate councils. 
of such men as Carysfort, who saw things from the stand- 
point of securing friendly assistance from minor conti- 
nental powers, rigidly held to the strictest English insu- 
lar view of neutral rights.^ Denmark and Sweden were 
driven into the arms of Russia. Prussia, dominated by 
the fear of an enemy in the rear,3 felt itself obliged'^ to 
yield to the Czar's plans. ^ 

^ C/. Martens, Pecueil SuppL, ii, 443, 444. 

'^Cf. e. g., Carysfort's despatch of Aug. 26, i8co, when he is even 
hopeful from the utterances of Kriidener, Russia's minister in Berlin, 
that Russia may be brought into line against France. Also his despatch 
of Nov. 16, 1800, urging conciliatory action {English Record Office). 

"King Frederick William III. said, " Ich muss meinen Rucken frei 
haben." Fear of the French and rivalry with Austria have received 
due, even undue, attention from writers on this period of Prussian 
policy. It is well to keep in mind that the experience of Frederick the 
Great, the incidents of the partitions of Poland, if nothing else, had 
taught Prussia that she could do nothing in Europe with a free hand 
unless she were sure of Russia at her rear. 

*I say obliged, although there was a party who saw in union with 
Russia the possibility of a more independent attitude toward France and 
Austria. Mollendorff was a v/arm advocate of the league with Russia 
for this purpose. See von Ompteda's despatch from Berlin, June 17, 
1800. No. 582 {Hanover). The utterances of another group led v. 
Reden, the Hanoverian minister to Berlin, to view the armed neutrality 
as a " Fussschemel " to Prussia's plans of territorial increase and the 
attainment of real dominance in North Germ.any. Cf. Despatch of 
November 29, 1800. No. 582 {Hanover). 

^V. Reden's despatch of June 17, 1800 {no. 582), shows that he then 
expected that Saxony, the Porte, and, under certain circumstances, 
Hanover, were to be asked to join the Maritime League. Nov. 22, 
1800, V. Reden learns that Hanover is to be omitted. The ministry re- 
gards the League as " eine pracipitante Idee," Nov. 30, 1800, in no. 
582. Sept. 3, 1800, Carysfort, the English minister in Berlin, writes 
that Haugwitz has again denied that Prussia was having anything to do 
with the Northern League, "and so far from v/ishing to reduce or to 
limit the naval power of Great Britain, rejoiced in its increase, consider- 


Nothing could be stronger and seemingly more sin- 
cere than the numerous assurances Haugwitz had given 
of Prussia's real interest in seeing England maintain, un- 
diminished, her naval supremacy. It seems, then, a step 
as inexplicable as it w^as sudden, to join a maritime 
league with the Czar of Russia at its head. It does not 
appear to have been done in a spirit of hostility tov\^ards 
Great Britain. Prussia hoped to avoid committing any 
overt acts in the enforcement of the convention, and to 
make England see the distinction between the now hos- 
tile league which had been formed because its members 
had common views on certain points of international 
law, and the active enmity of Russia on account of 
Malta. Prussia hoped, as has been suggested, to get 
between Russia and France, and as mediator to play a 
leading role in Paris. Finally, if worst came to worst, 
and a choice had to be made between two evils,' it 
seemed advisable for Prussia to favor Russia, at least 
nominally; for there seemed more hope of dealing rea- 
sonably with the sane ministers of George the Third, 
though Prussia was an ally of Russia, than there did of 
dealing with the unstable ruler of all the Russias, while 
disapproving his scheme of armed neutrality.'' 

ing it as the great bulwark of the common liberty of Europe. All 
accounts have concurred to convince me (Carysfort) that the idea of the 
Northern League has been always discountenanced by Prussia," May 
31, 1800, Beurnonville reports to Talleyrand that in a three-hour inter- 
view, filled out by the "sterile fecundity" of Haugwitz, the latter had 
mentioned the possibility of a Northern League that would limit Eng- 
lish commerce. Bailleu, i, 524-525. 

' England knew this, and had no objection to Prussia's adhesion to 
the principles of the Maritime League if only no hostile action was 
taken. Instructions to Carysfort, Jan. 16, 1801. (^English Record 

^ Sept. 14, 1800, Carysfort sent by special messenger the contents of 

64 1 ] PJ^ USSIAN O ecu PA TION OF HANO VER 203 

But once embarked on a course laid down by Russia 
and France, Prussia had before it, if it would at the same 
time retain a remnant of the position created for it by its 
neutrality system, the duty of doing unpleasant things 
because Napoleon or Paul wanted them done, and it 
would have been much more unpleasant for Prussia to 
let them be the executioners of their own plans. ^ 

important despatches just received by Baron Kriidener from the Czar. 
Paul had two armies of 80,000 each on the march, " destined to enforce 
the conclusion of peace (on Austria?) consistent with the general inter- 
ests of Europe and the known principles of His Imperial Majesty, and 
(Kriidener was) to make the strongest instances to the Court of Berlin 
to put an army in readiness immediately for the same purposes." Krii- 
dener did his errand with energy, even menacing, but to no effect. 
Prussia could not be moved (substance of Russia's reply to Prussia in 
Carysfort's despatch of Oct. 7); Haugwitz told Carysfort (Sept. 27, 
1800) "that Prussia would not concern herself directly with anything 
outside the Demarcation Line." No appeals to her cupidity would 
move her, though it had been tried on a recent occasion (seizure of 
Danish ships). ''She had been told if she would take part against 
England she might seize Hanover, and France would guarantee to her 
the possession." Up to Sept. 21, Carysfort had no definite knowledge 
as to the Maritime League, and was assuring Kriidener of England's 
desire to renew relations with Russia. (Despatch of Sept. 16.) In the first 
part of the despatch which tells that St. Petersburg had joined Denmark 
and Sweden, Carysfort talks of England's subsidizing the army Paul had 
called out. On Nov. 8 he felt sure there was no league forming against 
Great Britain, despite the efforts of France. {Cf. despatch of Nov. 11.) 
Haugwitz at this time {cf. Carysfort's despatch of Nov. 13) repeats his 
assurances of extreme friendliness to England, and broaches the subject 
of a union of Prussia, Austria and England, inviting Carysfort to bring 
about a reconciliation between Austria and Prussia. {Eng. Rec. Off.) 

'A conversation with Mr. Lombard has just been "reported to me 
from a quarter upon which I can perfectly rely, and by which it clearly 
appears that the Prussian government is under the greatest distress and 
embarrassment at not seeing means of escaping the consequences of the 
measures in which it has been so rashly engaged. Its intention is to 
keep aloof till the solicitation of its confederates, which it cannot resist, 
and which will certainly be strongly urged, obliges it to participate.'' 
Despatch of Lord Carysfort, Berlin, Feb. i, 1801. {^English Record 


The situation was critical, but it was of the kind 
that the statesmanship of Berlin in this period as repre- 
sented in Count Haugwitz was peculiarly able to meet. 
A great crisis, a bold move, war — these were words that 
might figure in the vocabulary of a Stein, a Bliicher, a 
Scharnhorst, but the sovereign of Prussia and the advi- 
sers next the royal person, Haugwitz, Lombard, Beyme, 
Kockeritz, Zastrow — how they have shrunk into oblivion 
behind the stalwarts of 1813 — were a combination that 
shunned a policy of blood and iron, and suited themselves 
to the tortuous course dictated by circum.stances. The 
best thought of the Haugwitzian diplomacy is embodied 
in neutrality conceived as a system; the best example of 
the Haugwitzian method in diplomacy is to be found in 
the period between December, iSco, and September, 
1801. There was a softness in the tread of his diplo- 
macy that enabled him to walk unscathed between the 
half slumbering war giants of that time. Russia was 
seemingly placated by Prussia's approval of Paul's revival 
of the principles of 1781. On the other hand, England 
was being made to feel that though Prussia approved the 
principles in abstract, no overt act of Prussia's would 
make them dangerous to England's practice. To such a 
position England had not the slightest objection. With 
its own isolation before it, the English government was 
willing to spare Prussia, that, when the storm was over, 
it might be more easily drawn to the support of England 
on the continent/ 

' In confirmation of this see instructions to Carysfcrt from London, 
January 16, 1801. Also Carysfort's despatch of January 22. " The gen- 
eral idea which I should think myself justified to form if perfect reliance 
was to be placed rpon the most prcminent parts of Ccunt Haugwitz's 
conversation, v/ould be not onl> that this court but Denmark and Sweden 
also really intended to draw themselves cut of the scheme of armed neu- 
trality. . . . He (Kaugwitz) said that it is the treaty cf 1780 v/hich he 


Indications were not long wanting that the Czar was 
not to be content with abstract approvals of his mother's 
views of international law. These would not bring Eng- 
land to terms on the question of Malta. Reprisals of 
some kind must be made, and as the ocean was Eng- 
land's, naval impotence directed the Czar's attention to 
other ways in which to punish his whilom ally. First 
came an inquiry as to the possibility of closing the 
mouths of the Elbe and the Weser to English commerce 
if it was deemed advisable by the Maritime League.' 

meant to act upon. Have patience and you will be convinced that noth- 
ing is intended against you." {English Record Office.) Another proof 
of this English consideration is that the English seizure of Heligoland, 
Prussia is assured, was not made until a map had been consulted and the 
English assured themselves it was outside the Demarcation Line. (In- 
structions to Carysfort, January 24, iSoi.) This is noteworthy because 
English ambassadors at Berlin had had instructions never by any act or 
phrase to give countenance or recognition to the Dem.arcation Line. 
And again see English note explaining to Prussia reasons why she is 
omitted from the embargo laid on Swedish, Danish and Russian vessels. 
On January 5, Cary^i-'ort surmises Haugwitz's reply to England's inquir- 
ies about the League. In concluding the interview, Haugwitz, after 
friendly assurances, had added that he could speak only for Prussia but 
believed England "was misled in attributing hostile views to Sv/eden 
and Denmark." 

' Despatch of Lusi (Prussian am.bassador at St. Petersburg) , January 
1830, 1801. " Le Comte de Rostopschin a regu ordre de L'Empeicur 
son Maitre de me dire, que sa Majeste Imperiale avoit lieu d'esperer que, 
en cas dc mesures hostiles du cote de I'Angleterre par rapport a la neu- 
tralite armee Elle voudra bien \m fermer les ports de I'Elbe et du Wercr." 
As early as February, 1800, Simon Woronzow, the Russian m-inister 
in London, had received instructions from the Czar to bring England to 
time on the question of maritime rights by threats (i) that Russia would 
make a commercial treaty with France and not with England, (2) that 
a persistent refusal would result in the invasion of the Electorate of Han- 
over and the closing of the mouths of the Elbe and Weser. (Instruc- 
tions are given in Woronzow Archives, vol. xi, p. 392, Harvard Library.) 
Woronzow, judging from his reply of February 25, seems to have ignored 
his instructions. He points out that the Czar must be in ignorance of 
commercial history between 1766 and 1793 to think to intimidate Eng- 


Now, Russia, seated at Hamburg or Bremen, or with an 
army in Oldenburg, was a spectre as disquieting to 
Prussia as a force in the same region wearing the French 
uniform would have been. The inquiry was a clear 
warning that Prussia must prepare to act with apparent 
hostility against Great Britain. Never certain of what 
the Czar might choose to do, Prussia's anxiety to keep 
her own borders intact, was increased by her desire 
at this juncture to win over Paul to her indemnity 
project which had just been proposed for the Czar's 
approval.' It was only with Russia's cooperation at 
Paris that they could hope to put through their ambi- 
tious plans for territorial increase. 

Procrastination in the face of Russia's urgency became 
more and more difficult. The embarrassm.ent of the 
cabinet at Berlin was evident to all observers.* The 
pressure from France, Russia, Sweden and Denmark, 
was pushing the reluctant Frederick William III. on to 
measures that even his best assurances could hardly 
make explicable to England or his fellow states behind 

land by threatening Hanover. He then expands on the absoluteness of 
separation between the two in words scarcely less vigorous than those 
quoted in Appendix B. to Chapter I. 

^Russia's ministry to Kriidener, March 2,'i8oi. They ask for Bam- 
berg, Wurzburg, the city of Nuremburg, etc. " Des raisons prepon- 
derantes ont decides le Roi a chercher la majeur partie de ses indemnites 
dans le cercle de Franconie." There they can best oppose Austria if 
thus strengthened — a suggestion cleverly supposed to appeal to the Czar, 
then in much disgust at Austria. The ministry thus ask for Hildesheim, 
Osnabriick and Eichsfeldt, which will allow Prussia to renew some day 
her plans of defending the neutrality of North Germany. 

'Carysfort, February 7, 1801. "The object of this court at this mo- 
ment is Procrastination, for what end cannot be easily ascertained. I 
fear they only wait the Determination of Russia whose Armies are in 
force on the Frontier and whose support is what they chiefly rely on to 
accomplish their ambitious Designs in Germany." 


the Demarcation Line. The measure which it was 
understood Paul favored, was the occupation of Hanover, 
and Berlin was filled with rumors of the Electorate's 
partition or exchange/ 

The Maritime League and Paul's desire to make it an 
instrument to punish England for refusing to yield Malta, 
were working to the advantage of no one more than 
Napoleon. Aroused anew by the English embargo 
against the Northern powers, "" and the English action in 
Egypt, Napoleon assumed the right of interpreting to 
Prussia the duties which her relations to Russia and 
France required of her.^ Her hostile attitude to Eng- 
land, said Napoleonic logic, involved Prussia, as a mem- 
ber of the Maritime League, in the closing of the ports 
of the Elbe and Weser, and occupying Hanover or 
letting the French do it. With Russia pushing Prussia 
the way France had long pulled, the Neutrality System 
must either be abandoned or defended with arms/ The 
decision of Prussia could not longer be delayed. The 
reluctant King Frederick William HI., realizing the dan- 
ger to his position now that Russia had been drawn 
into the French system,^ did violence to all his princi- 
ples and plans by preparing to occupy the Electorate.^ 

' Lord Carysfort, February 21, 1801. {Eng. Rec, Off.) 

* Bailleu, ii, 21, 22. 

^ In October of 1800, Napoleon had desired to use Prussian vessels to 
transport supplies from Antwerp to Bordeaux. He first inquired if the 
king of Prussia v/as prepared to make his flag respected, by seizing Han- 
over, as Prussia had no fleet. Bailleu, ii, g-io, 

* In the fall of 1800, before she was entangled with Russia, Prussia was 
ready to meet France with arms in her hand if the French violated the 
Demarcation Line, Instructions to Lucchesini, October 14-16, i8co. 
Bailleu, ii, 7. 

*On February 27, 1801, Napoleon proposed to Paul a joint Franco- 
Russian occupation of Hanover. Corrispondance^ vii, 63. 

* First notice in letter to Lucchesini, February 3, 1801. {Berlin 


The Prussian state has seldom, if ever, made a clearer 
confession of weakness than Haugwitz's letter to the 
Duke of Brunswick February 8, i8oi,' announcing that 
fear of Russia and France called for the sacrifice of Han- 
over. The self-abasement of it all lay in Prussia's 
abandonment in the eyes of Europe, of a principle which 
she had long proclaimed and was even then admitting, 
and this before the shock of arms had robbed her of the 
glamour cast about her by the military fame of Frederick 
the Great. For at the very time that she submits to the 
claim of Russia and France that England must be pun- 
ished through Hanover, she was reiterating the view 
she had long held, that they were separate in interests 
and policy.^ The resolution communicated to Luc- 
chesini in Paris and to the Duke of Brunswick was,^ as 
the delay in executing it showed, contingent upon the 
continuation of the pressure which Russia and France 

Archives.) He is to keep it quiet, saying only that the king had joined 
the Maritime League, and will take measures that it necessitates. The 
cost was even greater. The realization of any plans Prussia may have 
entertained of drawing North Germany into a hegemony under her 
leadership, and such plans were in the minds of some of the Berlin 
cabinet, would be delayed or rendered impossible by the results of the 
seizure of a neighboring and friendly province. Among other evidences 
of far-reaching plans may be cited the instructions to Lucchesini, Oct. 
14-16, 1800. Bailleu, ii, 8. Haugwitz's and the Duke of Brunswick's 
plans to divide Germany have already been mentioned. 

' Bailleu, ii, 25. 

"I do not mean here to cross the line between presenting Prussia's 
action from the proper point of view and weighing the advisability of 
Haugwitz yielding. With no allies, an untrustworthy army, and a foe 
at rear and front threatening to occupy if Prussia did not, one can under- 
stand why the unaggressive ministry would readily find in the sanctity 
of their obligation to the Maritime League an excuse for an act which 
they acknowledge to be the result of political necessity. Bailleu, ii, 25. 

* Special attention is called to the date of the communication to Luc- 
chesini of Prussia's intention to occupy Hanover, /. e., Feb. 3, 1801. 


were exerting when the decision was made. Procrasti- 
nation was still the refuge of the hard driven Prussian 
ministry. England meanwhile was giving them every 
reasonable excuse she could for delaying action.* This, 
it must be added, was not primarily on account of the 
Electorate in which her sovereign was interested, but 
rather that the English fleet under Parker and Nelson 
might gain the Sound and overpower the Danes before 
any of their allies in the Maritime League could come to 
their rescue.'' A storm so suddenly aroused might scat- 
ter as suddenly; Paul was a man of moods, but Prussia 
in waiting for a shifting of the wind from ihis quarter 
was running close to the dangers of the French Scylla. 
Reasonable excuse for delay could no longer be op- 
posed to the interpretation Napoleon had put on Prus- 
sia's allegiance to maritime principles before she had 
entered a league for their maintenance.^ The ratification 
of peace with the Empire '^ was going to furnish himi an 
excuse for regarding the neutrality of North Germany 
as non-existent. The French-English struggle still con- 
tinued, and Napoleon told Lucchesini " that it will be 
open to the king of Prussia or myself to occupy the 
electorate of Hanover." ^ And when Prussia neither 
moved to support Denmark nor to occupy the Electorate, 
his utterances became more threatening.^ 

'See instructions to Carysfort, January 16, 1801. {English Recora 

■■' See note below. 

^His utterance of Oct., 1800, already referred to, is in Bailleu, ii, 5-10, 

*At Luneville, Feb. 9, 1801. 

^ March 10, 1801, to Lucchesini. Cf. Bailleu, ii, 31. 

^ March 18, 1801, Lucchesini reports that Napoleon has said to Kalyt- 
schev (Russian representative), "Eh bien, les Prussiens disent toujours 
de marcher et ne bougent point; s'ils ne se decident pas promptement 


The young sovereign in Berlin, peace-loving, high- 
minded, neutral by nature and fitted to rule in times of 
peace over some small state with paternalistic and reac- 
tionary tendencies, had, by the cruelty of fate, been 
thrown into Europe in the midst of a great revolution. 
A similar caprice of fortune had placed in his hands the 
sceptre of a state lying in the very heart of the old 
Europe now in its death throes. Everywhere the call 
was for action, decision, boldness, breadth of view, firm- 
ness of purpose. Between struggling giants there was 
no place to kneel and supplicate for peace. The power 
that would watch the struggle at its ease must rest on a 
drawn sword. Frederick William III. was unequal to 
the situation created for him by a complication such as 
that he now faced. Military and financial weakness' 
made resistance to both Russia and France impossible. 
Geographical reasons forbade Prussia passively allow- 
ing either power to march into the heart of her domains 
in order to occupy the German lands of the king of 
England. Honor, consistency in policy, and the history 
of the past six years called on Prussia to deny abso- 
lutely, by force of arms if necessary, the claim that the 
peaceful electorate of Hanover could be made to suffer 
vicariously for the contentions of Great Britain. Since 
the treaty of Basel, Prussia had been attempting to de- 

et qu'ils abandonnent le Danemark a ses propres moyens rien ne saurait 
me detourner de m'emparer de I'electorat de Hanovre." Bailleu, ii, 
31, footnote 2. 

• Although the peace had brought many material advantages to Prussia 
(^/. Philippson, Gesch.d. Preuss, Staatswesen, etc., ii, 164, and Bailleu, 
ii> 558), the same lack of a resourceful and aggressive minister of finance 
had left the Prussian finances disorganized. See Haugwitz's expression 
of regret in Jan., 1799. Bailleu, i, 267. The article on Struensee in the 
Allgemeine Deutsche Biographic^ throws light on that minister's attitude 
towards financial reforms. 


fend the neutrality of North Germany, and the faithful 
adhesion of Hanover to Prussia's leadership had alone 
made possible the success of that policy. Too weak to 
resist the pressure from east and west, it remained to be 
seen whether, to save the neutrality of North Germany 
for the time being, Prussia would consent to disavow 
the fundamental tenet of neutrality as a system' by occu- 
pying Hanover in order to punish England. 

In the midst of all the difficulties of the position which 
the extraordinary combination of circumstances created, 
King Frederick William HI. was willing to grasp at any 
means which, by reconciling Russia and England, would 
relieve him from danger on his most vulnerable side. 
Breaking over the boundaries of diplomatic usage, he 
used first Captain von der Decken, and then regularly Col- 
onel Kockeritz as channels by which to convey to Lord 
Carysfort and the English government the difficulties of 
the position in which his attempt to oppose both Russia 
and France placed him. If only he might effect a recon- 
ciliation between England and the disgruntled head of the 
Order of St. John, he could see light breaking ahead.'' 

^ Ranke, in speaking of Prussia's attitude in 1801 concerning Hanover's 
separation from England, says she '* fiihrte eine andere Sprache , . . und 
wagte es nicht, die vorige wirklich in der Natur der Sache und den 
alteren Vorgangen gegriindete wieder anzustimmen." Ranke, Harden- 
berg, ii, 14, footnote. 

'March 15, 1801, Carysfort, after announcing that the occupation of 
the Electorate is inevitable, adds, "the King (Frederick Wm. III.) 
thinks at present if he could be backed by Russia, he would yet dare to 
hold up his head against France and look for support to England. But 
if the Emperor was to turn about and be again our friend I much doubt 
whether Prussia would venture to oppose the will of France. The King's 
natural timidity is increased by that of all his generals without excep- 
tion, by distrust (well grounded) of the afifections of the army, and by 
suspicions, most just, of the abilities and intentions of his Counsellors." 
{English Record Office. ) 


Whatever relief the wavering Prussian monarch may 
have felt when he learned that secret negotiations were 
already on foot between London and St. Petersburg, his 
respite was short/ On March 10, a hurrying messen- 
ger arrived in Berlin, bearing despatches from his Prus- 
sian Majesty's minister in St. Petersburg. For once 
Haugvvitz did not complain that the inefficient Lusi^ had 
made his report valueless by omitting matters of impor- 

Lusi's note is dated St. Petersburg, Feb. 12/26(24?), 
and runs as follows '? 

*'J'ai I'honneur d'envoyer cy-joint a Votre Majeste la 
copie de deux lettres* qui m'ont ete addressees par le 
Comte de Rostopsin dont la derniere roulant sur des ouver- 
tures tres importantes etoit ecrite Je sa propre main ! 

Copie : 

Monsieur le Comte, 

Au moment de notre Separation j'ai eu Thonneur 
de recevoir un billet auiographe de I'Emperenr, dont je 
vous joins ici la copie. 

* Proposez en raon noni par le Cte Lusj^ et Krlidener au Roi 
de Prtjsse i'occupation de I'Electorat d'Hannovre comme 
une raesure qui pourra (aire finir plutot les vileniCvS du Cab- 
inet de Londres'.' 

* Cf. a long and very important letter of Carysfort, telling his commu- 
nication to the king of the semi-ofScial utterances that the Mecklenburg 
counsellor, Liitzow, has been authorized to make on Carysfort's {i. e.^ 
England's) behalf at St. Petersburg. It is dated March 4, 1801, and 
encloses important documents. {English Record Office.) 

'^Lusi's despatches from St. Petersburg in this period are certainly 
barren enough to deserve Haugwitz's frequent reprimands. See con- 
demnation of Lusi in Haugwitz's letter to King Frederick William III., 
August 7, 1801. Rep. Xly Russland, 149 b., p. 193 {Berlin Archives). 

'*Rep. XI, Russland, 149 a, Vol. I {Berlin Archives). 

*The second letter is a copy of the ukase of Feb. 11/23, forbidding 
exportation to Prussia. 


J'ai rhonneur d'etre avec une consideration tres distin- 
goee, etc. 

Comte de Rostopsin. " * 

Having reached this point in the narrative of events as 
they are occurring on the larger stage, we may well turn 
for a moment to the interested victim of all this discus- 

Thus far this account of the occupation of Hanover 
seems a case of Hamlet with Hamlet left out. England, 
Prussia, Russia, Sweden and Denmark — what was Hano- 
ver itself doing? Where could it hope to be effective? It 
had no representave in Paris nor in St. Petersburg. Den- 
mark was its one well-hated, non-German rival. Its small neighbors were awed into timorous silence by 
the very greatness of the powers involved and by the fear 
for their existence that the question of indemity had 
raised. Hanover, thrown to the wolves, might let them 
save their own territorial entities.' London and Ber- 

^ Three days later Le Coq was despatched to St. Petersburg on a spe- 
cial mission to arrange Prussia's indemnity and the military measures 
which the Maritime League might necessitate. 

^When the occupation of Hanover came, the minor states raised no 
open protest, though alarmed by it. Saxony was sailing in Prussia's 
wake during these years as closely as was Kanover (see despatches by 
Sir Hugh Eliot, English envoy to Dresden, in Pub. Record Office.) 
The despatch of May 11, 1801, is particularly good. Helbig denounced 
the occupation to Count Loss as " cette facheuse et terrible expedition," 
but no action v/as taken. In Brunswick, the head of the state, Duke 
Charles William Ferdinand, 'vvas convinced of the French danger 
and had been urging Prussia to occupy. The Dukes of Holstein and of 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, then in St. Petersburg, took Hanover's part in 
the discussions there. Hesse-Cassel was planning to acquire an electoral 
hat and if it came as the result of Hanover's absorption by Prussia, the 
Landgrave, whom the ministry at Hanover had denounced as " land- 
gierig," Vv^ould hardly raise a strong protest. Ihe Duke of Strclitz, 
father of Queen Louise, and uncle of Duke Adolphus of Cambridge, who 
looked on Hanover as his second home, came to Berlin (March 21) and 


lin' seemed the only places where Hanover might speak 
for itself. 

All through the summer of 1800, von Reden in Berlin 
watched anxiously the ebb and flow of the Prussian- 
Russian negotiations on the matter of neutral commerce." 
The fear that Prussia would use measures necessitated by 
such a league to further her territorial aims,^ was more 
than counterbalanced by the faith that Prussia, whatever 
the cause of the complications, would return to its 
neutrality system when the storm was over. But even 
before Haugwitz had told the Duke of Brunswick (Feb. 
8, 1801) that Prussia was preparing to occupy the Elec- 
torate, the ministry at Hanover saw the coming action, 
and saw in it only danger.'* Believing from Kriidener's 

there strongly protested to both king and queen against the action 
Prussia contemplated. His words simply increased the perplexity of the 
hard driven Prussian monarch. (Helbig's despatch of March 23, 1801, 
Dresden Archives.) 

^ V. Lenthe, the Hanoverian minister next to the royal person in Lon- 
don, says in his defense, "Wir hatten keinen eigentlichen Feind (in the 
period after Basel) aber durchaus keinen Freund auf den wir rechnen 
konnten und unsere ganze Politik konnte nur die sein, uns an die eine 
Macht in deren Handen wir sowohl wegen ihrer iiberwiegenden Starke 
als wegen unsrer Lage ohnedem waren so gut wie moglich anzuschliessen 
und es nun darauf ankommen zu lassen ob deren Politik fur oder wider 
uns entscheiden wiirde." Zeitschrift des historischen Verei?is fur Nied- 
ersachsen, 1856, 149. This sentence represents fairly well the viewpoint 
of this dissertation. 

^ Cf. von Reden 's reports in Cal. Br. Arch. Des. 24, Brandenburg- 
Preussen, no. 582 {Han. Arch.). 

"V. Reden's despatches, Nov. 22 and 29, 1800. 

^The Hanoverian government was conscious of the danger of a Euro- 
pean pacification which left England out. A phrase in the Prussian note 
to England of February 12, could well be considered by the thoughtful 
Hanoverian as an indication of the fate to come. Haugwitz' s note, after 
announcing that the king of Prussia is one of the members of the Mari- 
time League, says, " et en cette qualite elle est obligee non seulement 
de prendre une parte directe a tous les evenemens qui interessent la 


words and Russia's previous policy that there was no 
danger of the Czar confusing King and Kurfiirst, and not 
aware that France had resumed its hostile position with 
more than usual vigor, they turned on Haugwitz in a 
note of vigorous protest — a note that was at the same 
time a strong appeal to the best instincts of the Prus- 
sian king and ministry. So seldom in this period did 
the Hanoverian Regency rise to take the initiative, that 
the note of February 12, 1801, made all the deeper 
impression on the Berlin leaders.' As the ally of Prus- 
sia, Hanover had deserted the policy followed by the 
kingdom of its reigning house, and had thus made possi- 
ble the successful maintenance of the Prussian neutrality 
system to which Hanover had further contributed men 
and money. The Regency and King George, with such 
a record to point to, could earnestly appeal against an 
action that seemed only to result in Hanover's suffering 
vicariously for England's sins. Passing from things more 
positive, the Electorate of Hanover agreed in full with the 
king of Prussia as to the value of the neutrality system, 
and of the uninterrupted commerce of the Elbe and 
Weser. Its elector had not the slightest objection 
to entering with Prussia and other interested parties — 
even Denmiark — into any arrangement for maintaining 

cause des neutres, mais aussi de la soutenir en vertu de ses engagemens, 
par telle mesures efficaces que I'urgence des cas pourra exiger. 11 doit 
a des stipulations, qui n'eurent rien d'hostile, que la sirrete de ses siijets 
lui dicta, tous les moyens que la providence a mis en son pouvoir, . . . 
que le roi, en donnent ses regrets a des evenemens qu'il n'eut jamais 
provoques, remplira saintement les obligations que les traites lui pre- 
scrivent." Martens, Recusily 2nd edition, vii, 218-219. 

* According to v. Reden's account it had created a sensation in Berlin 
and greatly embarrassed the king. (Despatches of February, i8ci, in 
no. 584.) This is rather borne oi:t by the interest Scxcny and En£,icnd 
took in seeing what answer Haugwitz would make. 


neutrality and keeping open these important rivers.' 
The note and the proposition it contains are by all odds 
the cleverest diplomatic move the Hanoverian govern- 
ment made in the period we are studying. The situation 
of the Prussian government was beyond peradventure 
made much more difficult. Much of the ground upon 
which it had based its talk about occupying the Elector- 
ate was removed by the offers Hanover made in order to 
shov/ its good faith in observing and defending its neu- 
trality. Officially no notice whatever was taken of the 
note,^ Prussia assuming that Hanover was not a party to 
the negotiations, and that until England replied to the 
Prussian note of the same date, or yielded the contention 
of the Marit.'me League, serious notice could not be 
taken of the comunications from the Regency. Privately,, 
Haugwitz assured von Reden that the French would 
never consent to Planover's joining the League. France 
would not consider that this was the sort of separation 
from England which Napoleon demanded. Russia, Haug- 
witz told von Reden, was not to be feared, but France 
had already shown itself Hanover's most dangerous 
enemy. Recently the French had three tim^es proposed 
the occupation of Flanover, " puisqu'il falloit chercher 
son ennemi partout ou on pourroit I'atteindre.''^ 

^ Cf, copy of note in Hann. Dcs.^ 92, XLI, No. 67. [Hanover 

'^Von Lentlie's defense in Zeitschrift des hist. Vereins fi'ir Nieder- 
sachsen, 1856, 152. Von Lenthe there brings the Berlin note into con- 
nection with a plan he had of uniting the North for its own defense 
against the French. He broached the subject to Bernstorff, the Danish 
minister, who immediatel}'- disapproved it (for fear of Russia?). The 
ro3^al rescript authorizing the note is dated January 57, 1801. V. Lenthe 
(as above). 

^Von Lenthe, svp. cit., p. 153. Cf. Lord Carysfcrt's despatch of 
Feb. 13, 1801, for Haugwitz's conversation with von Reden, when the 
latter handed in the note of Feb. 12. 


If England persisted in its rigid views of its maritime 
rights, not only Hanover, but Prussia itself, would be 
drawn helpless into the maelstrom. There was but one 
voice in Berlin when the subject of Hanover was dis- 
cussed — if it came to a break with England, the Prussians 
must occupy the Electorate.' There was little comfort 
in the assurances of the English ambassador that the 
Prussian seizure of Hanover would only prolong the 
wars. The history of the last seventy-five years contra- 
dicted Carysfort's opinion that the English people would 
never consent to their sovereign being deprived in this 
way of his German states.^ The Hanoverians were soon 
to know what they might hope from England. On Feb- 
ruary 19, the Regency, feeling that it had done all that it 
could in Berlin, wrote the minister in London, von 
Lenthe, that all now depended on the help he might 
obtain from Great Britain. ^ 

' Von Reden, Feb. 10 and 17, Des. 24, No. 584, Cf. note (— ) on 
king's despair over England's obstinacy. 

^V. Reden, Feb. 24, in no. 584. {Hanover.) 

*V. Lenthe in Zeitschrift, etc., sup. cit., p. 153. One should notice 
here two other subjects considered by the ministry in Hanover in March, 
1801. First, the subject of indemnity, and the situation in which Han- 
over was placed by the conclusion of the treaty of Luneville, which 
Hanover was foremost in approving for fear delay would give France a 
chance to misinterpret the Hanoverian attitude, led to the proposal that 
Hanover should have an agent in Paris, and the Regency transmitted to 
Napoleon through Beurnonville in Berlin and Bacher, French agent in 
Frankfort, the most friendly assurances of a desire for a good under- 
standing with France. [Cf. Cal. Br. Arch. Des. II, E. I, No. 1182 
and 1183.) Reports to King George, Cal. Br. Des. 24. Brand. -Pr., No. 
592, March 12. The second is their renewal of more intimate relations 
with Austria. They quite agree with the Austrian view that some 
power in Lower Saxony should be raised to counterbalance the Prussian 
influence, and plainly indicate that they would like to try their hand as 
a ' ' Gegengewicht ," if only a generous indemnity is given them. {Cf. 
no. 1182, sup. cit., ministry to king in March, 1801.) 


The English attitude toward Hanover during the last 
few years gave little reason to hope that any concession 
would be made for the sake of the Electorate. Always 
jealous of the Hanoverian connection, the English cab- 
inet and public, even King George himself, had never 
quite justified the readiness with which Hanover had 
sought the protection of the Demarcation Line. Von 
Lenthe was not a man with decision and ability enough 
to modify this generally hostile view or hold the king 
from approving the English measures against the allies.^ 
Signing the embargo on Swedish and Danish vessels, as 
von Lenthe told him, was equal to signing a warrant for 
the invasion of the Electorate. But no English minister 
would hearken to a consideration of Hanover's interests 
in the matcer.'' 

The royal family was much interested in the fate of the 
Electorate, but the king, who alone was in a position to 
influence its fate, could only adhere to the principles in 

* Jacobi-Kloest in his despatches to Berhn seems to consider the Han- 
overian attache, Best, as an abler man than von Lenthe and more in 
favor with King George, e. g., February 26, 1801. {Berlin Archives,) 

" It was rumored that Pitt and the Duke of York were in sharp dis- 
agreement, Pitt having threatened to resign if any act against the alHes 
was modified on account of Hanover. Count Loss to Helbig in BerHn, 
February 23 (?), 1801. {Saxon Archives.) V. Lenthe says: " . . . , so 
konnte ich auch hier nichts ausrichten weil ich kein andres Mittel (other 
than union proposed to Denmark, etc.,) vorzuschlagen hatte: denn das 
eben eingetretene Ministerium bHeb ganz auf dem Wege den seine Vor- 
ganger betreten hatten, die Riistimgen wurden mit gedoppeltem Eifer 
getrieben und es wurde mir bestimmt gesagt, dass derjenige englische 
Minister den Kopf verlieren wiirde der die in der Behandlung der neu- 
tralen Seemachte von Grossbritanien aliezeit behaupteten Grundsatze 
aufgeben wollte. Auch hatte der Konig selbst von jeher eben so gegen 
mich gesprochen und wiirde mich also nicht unterstiitzt, wenn er auch 
wohl gewesen ware. Er war aber krank und ich konnte keine Befehle 
von ihm einholen." V. Lenthe in Zeitschrift des hist. Vereins, €A.c,y 
1856, 154. 


which he had been reared, and be true to the interests 
of his EngHsh kingdom, though it cost him his patri- 
mony.' The Prince of Wales was emphatic in opinion, 
but chary in action, in view of the arrangements for a 
regency then under discussion ;"" the Duke of York had, 
it was thought, opposed Pitt in the matter ;3 the Duke 
of Cumberland, the fourth son, spoke out the royal 
family's attachment to their ancestral home. It re- 
mained for Duke Adolphus of Cambridge, frank and en- 
gaging, to do for himself and his father on the Elec- 
torate's behalf a service that English policy could not 
disapprove. '^ 

On February 25, the young Duke who had been with 
the Demarcation Army, accompanied by his adjutant, 
the able and active young Captain von der Decken, set 
out for Berlin to try what might be accomplished there 

* See note below. It was at this crisis that the weakened and over- 
burdened mind of the king gave way to one of his occasional spells 
of insanity. 

' C/. Jacobi-Kloest's despatches of March 13 and 17, 1801. {Berlin 
Archives.) The prince in the latter despatch has made it plain that 
England fears Napoleon will win Russia with his plans in the Orient 
and Prussia by the offer of Hanover. 

^See preceding page, Note 2. An editorial in the London Times 
for February 2 says: "We have reason to think the dissensions in His 
Majesty's Cabinet regard principally the part which this country and its 
sovereign who unites with that capacity the executive sovereignty of 
the Electorate of Hanover, is or ought to act, with respect to the king 
of Prussia, as guardian and chief of German neutrality on the one hand, 
and as party to the neutrality of the Baltic on the other." Pitt resigned 
Feb. 5, but did not hand over the seals till March 14 on account of the 
king's illness. King George had refused to approve his plan for the 
Catholic emancipation. See Geo"ge HI. in Diet, of National Biog- 
raphy, and the article by von Noorden, "Riicktritt des Ministeriums 
Pitt 1801,'' in the Hist. Zeit., ix, 343. 

*Helbig, March 5 {Dresden Archives). " Le Prince Adolphe d'An- 
gleterre . . . c'est le moins beau, mais le meilleur de ses freres et tres 


on Hanover's behalf. It was a personal mission, whose 
hope of success must lie in the influence his young rela- 
tive could bring to bear on King Frederick William III., 
seconded as it would be by Captain Decken's unofficial 
conferences and representations to both king and min- 
istry. The story of their mission is an interesting one, 
and not without importance in some of its bearings on 
the relations between the two powers whose connection 
we are following. But in its main aim of moving Prus- 
sia to abstain from invading the Electorate, it was fore- 
doomed to failure. The ministry at Hanover must have 
felt the chances of success were slight. They were very 
likely thinking not of what was to be done to avoid 
Prussia's invasion, but what was to be done to save 
Hanover's further existence as a separate power. It 
would have needed firmer faith and greater courage than 
theirs to withstand the suspicion as to Haugwitz's ulti- 
mate designs which permeated all von Reden's reports 
from Berlin in the crucial months of February and 
March. ^ But these were mere surmises. As a fact, von 
Reden let it be seen that Prussia would surely have to 

^ V. Reden's statement of the opinion in Berlin on the matter of oc- 
cupying Hanover (despatch of March 2) is that the great mass believe 
in temporary occupation and exploitation. This idea suits the military 
group and such financiers as von Schulenburg. Another party — Lom- 
bard, Beyme, Kcckeritz and Haugwitz — favored uniting Hanover to 
Prussia. The impression von Reden had and so heard from all he talked 
with, was that Haugwitz was using the English- Russian-French affair 
as an excuse. " Die wahre Ursache ist die, dass Graf Haugwitz, Min- 
ister Hardenberg und Consorten auf die russische Unterstiitzung sich 
stiitzend und wohl wissend, dass die Franzosen ihre Projecten auf den 
Teutschen Norden (eprouviren?), weil sie diesen gegen England aufge- 
bracht haben, ihren Favorit Plan durchsetzen wollen." They vvere 
trying to get the Duke of Cambridge out of the way. (Von Reden's 
despatch of March 15.) 


invade if England maintained its ground.' Nobody 
could know better than King George's son how certainly 
England would face all Europe rather than yield her 
supremacy on the high seas. 

Duke Adolphus was well fitted by nature and by inter- 
est to make an appeal for the country in which he had 
spent so much of his youth. His acquaintance with the 
king and queen of Prussia, and his winning ways pre- 
pared for him a friendly reception. Captain von der 
Decken, though a young man, is, it seems to me, to be 
named with Ludwig von Ompteda and von Miinster as 
one of the three ablest Hanoverians whose talents were 
then at the service of the ministry for diplomatic mis- 

They arrived in Berlin, February 28, and remained 
nearly all of the month of March — until the occupation 
of the Electorate created a situation that m.ade the posi- 
tion of the Duke as the guest of the Prussian court too 
embarrassing. Both were active and both have left on 
record reports of their activity.^ The Duke's object was 

* After von Reden had handed in the note of February 12, he met 
Hargwitz at a ball and was rather coolly received. " Zrgleich Hess er 
so viele Aeusserungen fallen das ich hatte miissen gar nicht sehen ncch 
horen wollen, wenn ich nicht gemerkt hatte dass sich Preussen und die 
iibrigen nordischen Machte an Hannover halten werden, wenn England 
sich nicht bequemen will ihren Willen zu thun." Kaugwitz points out 
that it has for six years been difficult to protect Hanover against the 
French and now that England had embroiled herself with the Northern 
powers and England's " acharnirster Feind," the Czar, was taking the 
same view as the French, the position of Prussia was almost untenable. 
In war it would be impossible to maintain the separation of the spheres 
of king and Kurfiirst in the person of George the Third. The French 
termed it " une distinction metaphysique." V. Reden, February 14, 
1801, no. 584, {Han. A.rch.) Von Reden notes that he had grasi^ed 
the Czar's intentions as early as his despatch of Nov. 22, 1 1800. 

'The material for an account of this mission will be found principally 
at Hanover. Cal. Br. Arch. Des. 24, Brandenburg-Preussen^ nos. 


to try by direct appeal to Frederick William III. to pre- 
vent if possible the occupation of the Electorate; or, if 
the occupation was inevitable, to delay it as long as pos- 
sible, and to arrange it on terms most favorable to the 
Electorate. They stopped in Brunswick to interview the 
Duke, and there learned how serious the situation of the 
Electorate was, that is, that France and Russia were 
pressing the king to occupy, and that, though he would 
delay as long as possible, it must be done, and the Duke 
of Brunswick was expected to take command of the in- 
vading army.' 

Immediately on their arrival in Berlin, the energetic 
von der Decken sought and obtained an interview with 
Frederick William III., much to the disgust of the royal 
advisers who were seeking to bring the king to decisive 
action. "^ The king only made it plain how helpless he 
was in the situation created for him by the English 
steadfastness on the one hand, and the reckless plans of 
the Czar Paul on the other. Von der Decken who had 
begun the interview in the conviction that the Prussian 
plan was to absorb Hanover, left the king convinced that 
the latter at least was not a party to any such scheme, 
whatever the ultimate designs of his minister might be.^ 

585, 586, 587, 589. Also Carysfort's despatches for the period and in 
Eng. Pub. Record Office and Helbig's dispatches in the Dresden Ar- 

'V. Decken's report of February 2(i. Reference has already been 
made to Haugwitz's letter to the Duke, Feb. 8. Bailleu, ii, 25. 

^ Kockeritz interrupted the interview several times and started an angry 
colloquy with Capt. Decken when he came out. Both Haugwitz and 
Hardenberg are credited with trying to hasten Duke Adolphus' depart- 
ure. (Duke Adolphus' dispatch of March 15.) 

'Some things that passed in the interview seem worth repeating here. 
To Capt. Decken's expressions of Hanover's faith in the king's good 
intentions, Frederick William replies: " Sie konnen iiberzeugt sein, dass 


The most hopeless phase of the whole situation was 
Prussia's confession of weakness and lack of independent 
policy in this critical situation. The interviews of the 
next few days with the English and Austrian ambassa- 
dors did not ofTer a ray of comfort. The air was full of 
rumors of how the Russian ambassador was urging 
again and again the occupation of the Electorate, how 
Augereau's army was ready to march when Napoleon 
gave the word, how Prussia was cherishing the most 
extensive hopes of having Hanover assigned to her as an 
indemnity.^ The young envoys wavered for a moment 

wenn ich nichtdas Raub und Plunder-system verabscheute, meineTrup- 
pen das Hannoversche schon langst besetzt batten. Es fehlt nicht an 
vielen Eingebungen die zu den gewaltesten Mittel rathen. Ich verab- 
scheue sie. Allein wenn die Englander mich zwingen so haben sie es 
mir nicht beizumessen. Ich will meiner Ehre nichts vergeben." I 
think this must be what Hassall [Das Kurfurstentum Hannover vom 
Baseler Frieden his ztir Preuss. Occupation int Jakre 1806, p. 35), puts 
in quotation marks. 

The king fears a Russian occupation, but gives v. d. Decken the 
impression that the Czar has not threatened it. (This is March i.) 
It will not be enough for England to raise the embargo on the Swedish 
and Danish vessels. The whole embargo must be raised and Russia 
conciliated. "Ich muss meinen Riicken frei haben," were the king's 
words. Captain Decken urged that Prussia would lose more than she 
would gain by taking Hanover for her indemnity — Westphalia was a 
better field, suggested the Hanoverian. The king said Prussia had not 
yet settled her indemnity plan. In summing up his impressions Decken 
says: " Mochte ich mit meinem Kopfe dafiir haften dass der Konig in 
seinem Herzen die Besitznehmung der Hannoverschen Lander nicht 
wiinscht, ich habe aber Grunde zu vermuthen, dass Herr von Haugwitz 
den Plan hat; vermuthlich erst seit einiger Zeit: und den Konig haupt- 
sachlich durch Drohungen mit den Franzosen dazu zu bringen sucht. 
Herr von Haugwitz hat den Herrn von Cokeritz auf seiner Seite.'* 

' See V. d. Decken's reports of March 9 and 15. {Hanover Archives.) 
In latter report v. d. Decken tells how Haugwitz uses Deluc to con- 
vey the news that Lucchesini in Paris has just reported that Auger- 
eau is to occupy Hanover if Prussia does not. Plaugwitz sends the 
most solemn assurances that "er keineswegs gewillet sei das Hanno- 
versche zu behalten oder en siquestre zu nehmen sondern die Besetzung 


and thought of leaving Berlin,' but the kindly invitation 
of the king and his gracious queen, Louise,^ determined 

lediglich geschehe um das Land gegen die Franzosen sicher zu 
stellen." This must be kept from the French. Hardenberg gives 
him the same assurances as to danger from the French. Carysfort v;as 
of the opinion that Prussia's step was caused more by Russia, and the 
threat about the French army was a "Kunstgriff" of Haugwitz. On 
the same day Duke Adolphus sends an account of an intervievv^ in which 
the king urges him to stay till the king indicated he was to leave. 
'* Dass er (Fred'k Wm. III.) bis jetz an die Besitznahme des Han- 
noverschen noch nicht gedacht hatte obwohl er von beiden Seiten dazu 
sei aufgemuntert worden." An important despatch of Lord Carysfort' s 
of March 14, 1801, tells how he has received a person (Deluc) author- 
ized by Count Haugwitz to say that his Prussian Majesty has found it 
necessary to determine on the occupation of Hanover in order to keep 
Augereau out. But the act must in no way be interpreted as hostile to 
Great Britain or as an obstacle to friendly and close connection in the 
future. On the 15th Carysfort reports the king's interview with Prince 
Adolphus. This incident seems to me the most direct evidence avail- 
able of the cross purposes at which the responsible directors of Prussian 
policy were working. 

^ Capt. Decken to Regency, March 9. 

* V. d. Decken's report of March 13, presents the queen as an inter- 
cessor for the land of her birth. V. d. Decken to Regency, Berlin, 
March 13, 1801. 

** Die Konigin war gestern so gnadig mir zu sagenich mochte ihre 
Bitte beim Prinz Adolph, noch eine Zeitlang hier zu bleiben unterstiitzen, 
well sie es so sehr wiinsche. Ich erwiederte: dass der Prinz bescrge 
dem Konig lastig zu sein. Und da sie sich darauf verpflichtete mir als 
heute Morgen iiber die Gesinnung des Konigs in diesem Punkte vollige 
Auskunft zu geben, bath ich sie bei dieser Gelegenheit dem Kcnige 
unser Land zu empfehlen, worauf sie sich nach der ganzen Lage er- 

Diesen Mittag sagte mir die Konigin sie habe mit dem Konige tiber 
alles gesprochen. Der Konig sahe es sehr gern dass der Prinz noch 
hier bliebe, weil seine Gesellschaft ihm sehr angenehm sei. In Riick- 
sicht unsers Lands hege der Konig die besten Gesinnungen. Er ver- 
abscheue durchaus die Idee sich eines fremden Eigenthums zu bemacht- 
igen, und wurde zu der Besitzung des Plannoverschen nur dann schreiten, 
wenn er von den Englander durchaus dazu gezwungen wiirde." In no. 
585 {Hanover Archives.) Cf. further on Queen Louise and her atti- 
tude toward the neutrality system, Deutsche Revue t Sept., 1901, and 
Hist, Zeit., 88, 557 


Duke Adolphus to remain until Prussia was forced out 
of its inactivity by a definite Engiisli refusal to meet any 
of the Russian-Prussian demands. 

Of King Frederick William's good intentions there 
was little doubt, but his Majesty's hopes and ideas 
seemed to be in disagreement with views of the situa- 
tion cherished by such men as Haugwitz, Kockeritz and 
Hardenberg/ The king's words were reassuring, but 
he himself seemed to feel that the case was hopeless un- 
less Haugwitz accepted Captain Decken's views. At the 
king's request an interview was arranged by honest 

^ See V. d. Decken's report of the preliminaries of the interview with 
Haugwitz in his report of March 24. He saw the king and queen at a 
ball on the 21st. In this nterview, as well as one on the ist, von der 
Decken argues on the basis that Prussia has an idea of retaining Han- 
over permanently. It the close of this line of argument that King 
Frederick William III. rpproves his ideas and expresses his desire that 
he convince Haugwitz of it. Later in the evening Queen Louise tells 
Capt. Decken, "Der Konig habe keine Neigung nicht einen Mann 
marschiren zu lassen, er werde aber so sehr gedrangt." The king, it is 
to be noted, knew what his ministry did not, that England was m.aking 
an attempt to negotiate with Russia, and so he could oppose their desire 
for quick action in the hope that a successful outcome might relieve him 
of his embarrassing situation. Cf. Carysfort's report of March 4, 1801. 
It seems clear when one reads the English term,s concerning Malta (en- 
closed in this despatch), that England hardly expected a successful out- 
come and hoped from the negotiations with Russia and their communi- 
cation to the Prussian king to hold back those powers till the fleet of 
Parker and Nelson had gotten into the Sound and overpowered the un- 
aided Danes. No wonder that Napoleon storm.ed at Prussia for leaving 
the Danes to their own resources. 

Carysfort, in his despatch of March 22, in exulting over the unex- 
pected procrastination that had been secured in the Prussian measures 
against Hanover and England until the English fleet has cone its work, 
considered it "principally due to the presence of His Royal Highness 
Prince Adolphus, which in every point of view appears to my humble 
judgment to have been of great importance to his Majesty's service." 
The dela}' of hostile measures was highly beneficial to England in allow- 
ing her to get supplies from the continent. {English Record Office.) 


Deluc, reader to the queen. On the evening of March 
24, Capt. Decken repaired secretly to the study of Haug- 
witz and there talked over the whole situation. Haug- 
witz though friendly, was clearly determined to make 
the best argument possible for the situation into which 
he admitted Russia and France had put Prussia. With 
his usual readiness to make his arguments fit the occa- 
sion he laughed at the idea of trying to distinguish the 
policies of George III. as King and Kurfiirst — a distinc- 
tion which, as has been indicated, was as fundamental to 
his long cherished neutrality system as any clause in the 
treaty of August 5, 1796.' When v. der Decken conjured 
up the spirit of Frederick the Great in all the amazement 
which that great man would feel to see his state in such 
a humiliating position, doing the behest of its neighbors, 
Haugwitz frankly avowed the weakness of the state he 
represented and confessed the opportunism that guided 
its policies. "* Captain Decken presented an exhaustive 

^*' Der Unterschied zwischen dem Konige von England and Chur- 
furst von Hannover ist nie verkannt, selbst der Churfiirst von Hannover 
unterscheidet ihn nicht immer. Die Franzosen haben im y-jahrigen 
Kriege auch darauf keine Riicksicht genommen. Und gesetzt sie batten 
es jemals gethan, so ist es jetzt unser Vortheil es nicht zu thun. Er 
machte sich iiber die Idee den Churfiirst voni Konige trennen zu wollen 
auf eine etwas unartige Art lustig." 

* Haugwitz said, " Der preuss. Staat konne seinen Kraften zufolge nur 
eine leidende Rolle spielen, seine Politik erfordere, auf eine geschickte 
Art zu lauren. . . . seine Politik sei das von selbst zu thun was man 
ohnehin thun miisse, was sich nur dadurch ein Staat in Ansehen erhalten 
konne." I add here the estimate of Haugwitz's policy made by Hel- 
big, the Saxon envoy in Berlin: *' Le principe de ce Cabinet, sous la di- 
rection de Mr. le Cte de Haugwitz, est d'attendre toujours les evenemens 
pour y regler apres les dispositions a faire." May 10, 1801 {Dresden 

March 2^^ 1801, Helbig makes some wise comments on the Prussian 
occupation. After speaking of King Frederick Wm.'s reluctance, ** En- 
fin la peur de s'exposer a la fureur de la France et de la Russie I'ai em- 


memorial which stated and answered all the possible 
reasons that might be considered by the Prussian min- 
istry as sufficient grounds for the step they were about 
to take.' Haugwitz went through it with him carefully, 
but remained unshaken in his determination — all the 
more so since it was, as we have seen, not his deter- 
mination, but a step conceived in Paris ^ and decreed in 
St. Petersburg. 

Out of the interview with Haugwitz, as in the conver- 
sation of Captain Decken with Frederick William III., 
stands clearly the one idea of keeping free from diffi- 
culties with Russia and France. Prussia's duty to her 
allies of the Maritime League, the alleged disappearance 

porte sur la bonte de coeur de ce Souverain. Ce Prince et son Minis- 
tereauroientpus'epargnercette situation critique si de tout terns on avoit 
tenu un langage ferme energique et digne de la puissance Prussienne. 
Maintenant, tout bien considere, il faut avouer, qu'il ne leur reste pas 
d'autre moyen que de ceder aux impulsions des autres, qui forcent le 
Roi a faire ce qu'ils exigent ou a compromettre ses propres avantages." 
{Dresden Archives.) 

^ Copies of this able memoire are to be found in Berlin and Hanover. 
In the former archives it is unsigned and is bound in the volume, R. 
XI, no. 140, C. /., just before King Frederick William's proclamation 
to the Hanoverian ministry. 

- Direct evidence as to how Napoleon brought his ideas before Paul 
after their reconciliation is, as far as I know, rather scanty. Jan. 20, 
Napoleon wrote Talleyrand: " II parait, Citoyen Ministre,que le Prusse 
n'a pas ete comprise dans I'ordre du conseil prive du roi d'Angleterre. 
II faut esperer que Paul la poussera. Ne pourrions-nous pas en attend- 
ant contribuer a pousser Hambourg?" Correspondance , vi, 736. Na- 
poleon's letter to Paul, Feb. 27, 1801, is better evidence of how the First 
Consul wished the Czar's co-operation. He proposes that a joint corps 
of French and the Russian prisoners just freed under the Russian gen- 
eral, Sprengporten, occupy Hanover until peace is made. If Russia closes 
the North of Germany to England and Napoleon shuts the English trade 
out of Portugal, they will have the continent closed to England. Cf, 
Correspondance, vii, 63. The references given by Hausser, ii, 347, arc 
not to the point. 


of the neutrality of the North of Germany with the sign- 
ing of the Imperial peace are evidently subordinate to 
the desire to remain on a friendly footing with Russia, 
to be free from the danger of attack on Prussia's vulnera- 
ble side, thus manifesting her utter inability to resist pres- 
sure from both Czar and First Consul/ If one seeks, 
then, to summarize the effective reasons for Prussia's 
action, they seem to range themselves in a certain rela- 
tion and order. The long-cherished view of France that 
Hanover was an English possession, and the I006 of 
Egypt, accompanied by a feeling of French helplessness 
before English maritime predominance, caused Napoleon 
to take advantage of the Czar's momentary anger over 
England's maritime exactions and refusal to yield Malta. 
By this sudden Russian-French unity in hostility to 
England, France might hope to force Prussia as a well- 
intended member of the Maritime League to the occupa- 
tion of the electorate of Hanover. They could expect 
by this means to involve Prussia in the scheme of a con- 
tinental system, and ultimately to embroil her in a war 
with England. 

Lastly, the reader must throw the whole matter on the 
background formed by the subject of indemnification. 
Prussia's *' Landbegier " was considered inordinate by its 

' Haugv/itz, " Preussen muss nur suchen mit Russland gut zu bleiben." 
And again, that Prussia could not protect Hanover according to its 
principle. ** Dass Russland ihm auf den Hals gezogen habe." (Capt. 
Decken, March 24, to the Regency in Hanover.) Frederick William 
III., " Ich muss meinen Riicken frei haben." (Capt. Decken's inter- 
view of March i.) The king assures Prince Adolphus of Bonaparte's 
definite declaration that he will occupy Hanover as soon as the peace of 
Luneville is ratified if Prussia does not. Prince Adolphus is convinced 
by this interview that the occupation is brought about by the French 
danger. See his report to the Regency, March 21, 1801. {Hanover 


neighbors and the EngHsh pubhc, the cabinet was credited 
with plans so far-reaching that the well-intentioned King 
Frederick William was kept from knowing their ultimate 
aim. There could be no doubt in times when every 
power was filing excessive claims for damages, of the 
interpretation Austria, Hanover, England and the smaller 
German states' would put on the occupation of the 
Electorate.* Men like Hardenberg dropped remarks 
about the occupation being permanent, if they had their 
way, and the responsible minister let it be known that 
he sought, by watching his opportunity, to turn every- 
thing to the advantage of Prussia. ^ King Frederick Wil- 
liam III. was good, but weak.^ Hanover could not defend 

^The opinion of the Saxon envoy (Helbig) and the Minister, Count 
Loss, is to be found in the despatches of February 22, and March 4, 1801. 
{Dresden Archives.) 

March 20, when he has learned from Zastrow that orders have been 
given to close the mouths of the Weser, Elbe and Ems, he stnds par 
estafetie news "de cette facheuse et terrible expedition, dont les suites 
sont incalculables pour le Nord de 1' Europe et principalement de I'Alle- 
magne." {Dresden Archives.) 

'^Cf. Reden's despatch of March 14, 1801, where he says the opinion 
among the diplomats in Berlin is that Prussia, under cover of compul- 
sion from France and Russia, is seeking to increase its territory. No. 
584. {Hanover Archives.) 

'Helbig, Saxon envoy, to Count Loss, March 31, 1801, "... mais 
je suis pour ainsi dire persuade que le cour de Berlin ne voudra jamais 
rendre cette conquete. Si elle suite (sic) le Conseil du Ministre, Baron de 
Hardenberg, qui a parle confidemment de cette affaire a un de ses amis, 
elle gardera ce pays. Si cependant elle peut etque des Cours mJeux in- 
tentionees ne s'en melent pas cet homme qui ne cherche pas (sic) qu'a 
depouiller les autres trouveroit a la fin que toute 1' Europe pourroit 
convenir a arrondir la monarchie prussienne." {Dresden Archives .) 

*In his interview with von der Decken, Haugwitz thoroughly ridiculed 
the suspicion that Prussia had the remotest idea of keeping Hanover. He 
assured von der Decken that Prussia was seeking an altogether different 
indemnity. This we know to be true, but as these indemnity plans were 
not explained or certainly known, it leaves unmodified the statement in the 
text as to the way the European public would interpret the occupation. 


itself. England was loyal to its sovereign, but indiffer- 
ent to his German possessions. How dark and hopeless 
seemed the outlook for Hanover ! Apparently the only 
ground for confidence in the future was the character 
and good intentions of Prussia's king.' 

But the good character of its monarch alone has never 
been sufficient to make Prussia a force in European poli- 
tics. Whatever may have been the intentions of a clique 
in the ministry, the king's purposes might well have re- 
strained them.'' It was a different question when, weak- 
ened financially and militarily, the Prussian state, its 
protests in behalf of maritime rights having been passed 
over by England in disdainful silence,^ attempted to 
withstand the threats of France^ and the united repre- 
sentations of its allies — Denmark, Sweden and Russia. ^ 
Sharp and decided pressure from either east or west 
would force the long deferred decision on King Fred- 
erick William. 

^ "The king's intentions I believe to be honorable, but his weakness 
extreme." Lord Carysfort, March 15, 1801. {English Record Office.') 

^Carysfort had very little confidence in the Prussian king's effective 
influence. March 17, 1801 he writes, "There is evidently a difference 
of opinion in regard to the occupation of the Electorate of Hanover be- 
tween the King and his Ministers from which, however, no results very 
favorable to Great Britain can be expected. The King may wait in the 
hope that England and Russia may be reconciled, but should that event 
take place the habit of irresolution and the want of sufifiicient military 
preparations would leave in all probability the Councils of Prussia too 
much under the influence of France." 

^The reference is to the Prussian note of February 12, 1801. Cf. Mar- 
tens, Recueil, 2nd edition, vii, 215 ff. 

* Besides the material already cited on this point the reports of von 
Reden reproduce the rumors current in March that Augereau had been 
hastily summoned to Paris to concert a French occupation. 

^ Reden reports such protests March 7 and 14, 1801, no. 584, Simi- 
larly in Lord Carysfort's despatch of March 7. March 10 and 14, Reden 
writes that Russia is urging Prussia to seize Hanover. 


The Russian Czar had already given proof of the 
lengths to which his hatred of England might carry him 
against those who did not rise to his degree of anti- 
English fervor,' and all attempts to point out to him that 
Prussia's participation in the Maritime League ought 
not to involve her in the English-Russian difficulties 
over Malta, fell on deaf ears."" The proposal that Prussia 
receive Hanover as its indemnity ^ left no excuse for mis- 
understanding the situation as Paul viewed it. He was 
willing to sacrifice the traditional Russian policy in 
North Germany by increasing Prussia's power immod- 
erately if the step in any way injured England. All 
hopes that half-way measures'^ would content, were re- 
moved when in the early morning of March 25, Kriidener 
aroused Haugwitz and presented Paul's indemnity plan, 
assigning Hanover in lieu of the Franconian bishoprics 

* February 23, he issued a most extraordinary ukase forbidding the 
exportation of Russian products to Prussia because they reached Eng- 
land through that channel (the ukase is given in Martens, Recueil, 2nd 
ed., vii, 220) . This ukase was modified by a succeeding one so that expor- 
tation took place provided Prussia saw to it that the products did not 
reach England. Deutsche Zeit. fur Geschichtswissenschaft , N. F, ;i, 
253-54. The way he had coerced Denmark and Sweden into the Mari- 
time League exhibits his spirit and methods. Jan. i, 1801, he had in- 
continently dismissed the Danish envoy, Rosenkranz, from St. Peters- 
burg because neither Rosenkranz nor von Bernstorft, the Danish prime 
minister, had favored the League. See Helbig's despatch of January 
29, 1801 {Dresden Archives) . Lusi, the Prussian minister, was thank- 
ful to escape the same fate. 

^ See Prussian ministry to Lusi, Jan. 9, 1801 {Berlin Archives). 

'See below. Throughout March, Russia was urging Hanover as an 
indemnity. Cf. Lusi's dispatches of March 10, 13 and 17 {Berlin Ar- 
chives) . 

* Such as occupying the mouths of the rivers and later occupying Han- 
over en sequestre. Rostopsin, Russian vice chancellor, to Lusi, Feb. 14 
{Berlin Archives) . 


which Prussia had desired.' Kriidener was commissioned 
to do more than proffer, he was to threaten Prussia 
with an army of 80,000 Russians then moving towards 
Lithuania.^ If Prussia did not decide within twenty- 
four hours to send its troops into Hanover, the repre- 
sentative of Russia was to quit Berlin. ^ Such a serious 

^Bailleu, ii. 41-42. The original of Paul's plan is nowhere preserved. 
The best authenticated copy is in Alex. Wassiltchikow, Les Razou- 
mowski, vol. ii, pt. i, p. 405. i^Ed, frangaise, by A. Briickner.) The 
extract there given was made by Count Andre Rasoumowski from a 
note found in Paul's desk after his death. The reference to Hanover is: 
" Que I'Empereur propose au Roi de Prusse de se dedcmmager sur le 
Hanover de ses cessions au dela du Rhin et reserve au Danemark la 
ville de Hambourg." 

'^ (Bernhardi.) Hist. Zeit., iii, 156. The date given there should be 
corrected in accordance with Prof. Ulmann's suggestion. {Zeit. f. 
Geschichtswissenschaft, N. F., ii, p. 258, note 2.) Sugenheim, Russ- 
lands Einfluss auf Deutschland,\\, igi, cites as proof of Paul's earnest- 
ness in his demand, the march of Russian troops toward the Prussian 
boundary. In Schiemann, Die Ermordung Pauls, etc. (Berlin, 1902), 
p. 74, Bennigsen and Subcw in their statement mention among the 
vagaries of Paul the plan to conquer Altpreussen. In Weljaminow- 
Sernow's statement (p. 24 of Schiemann) it is mentioned that he de- 
clared war on several nations a few days before his death. Prof. Ulmann 
gives other references to works that accept this threat of Paul's, Zeit f. 
Geschichtswissenschaft (as above), p. 259, note 2. The best evidence 
that I have found that military m.ovements against Prussia were part of 
Paul's plan is in a pro-memoria of the Mecklenburg court chamberlain, 
von Liilzow, enclosed by von Reden in his despatch of August 3, 1801. 
{Han. Arch., no. 589.) Liitzow had been the bearer of secret over- 
tures from England to Russia early in the year (see Carysfort's despatches 
of January 21 and Hawkesbury's instructions to him February 13, 1801, 
Eng. Rec. Off.), and had been in St. Petersburg at the time of the 
crisis. Lutzcw's memoire is dated " Month of June — Pawlovvsk." He 
explains the harshness of the Prussian tone in the note of February 12 
by its desire to satisfy Paul, " denn es ist gantz sicker dass eine starke 
Armee schon in Anm.arsch war die Preussen zu zwingen die Hano- 
verschen Lande zu besetzen." The present Czar told him (Liitzow) 
that the troops then in motion were stopped by a courier sent out two 
hours after Paul's death. 

^ Sbornik Ruskajo, vol. 70, p. 672, for a minute of the order dispatched 


situation ' admitted of no delay, and at a conference held 
in Potsdam^ on the 26th, and attended by the Duke of 
Brunswick, it was decided to hurry forward the Prussian 
troops already under orders to march. ^ General Kleisty 

on March ii. The dispatch in the Sbornik does not mention the Rus- 
sian army. I have here simply verified a reference made in Prof. 
Ulmann's article already mentioned. On March 25, Haugwitz sum- 
moned Carysfort to discuss with him confidentially the relations between 
the two countries. "Instead, however, of pursuing this intention, he 
shortly and drily informed me by command of the King, his Master, that 
no answer having been returned to the note of February 13, and England 
having committed hostilities against Sweden and Denmark on the open 
sea and in the ports of Norway, and a large fleet having put to sea appa- 
rently designed to act in the Baltic (note: Parker and Nelson had sailed 
on the I2th), his Majesty had found himself obliged to use all the means 
in his power for the support of His Allies, And that his troops were now 
on their march to occupy the Sea Coast and the posts commanding the 
Elbe and Weser. I contented myself with observing in reply that the 
intentions of Prussia had long been beyond doubt, and the pretexts now 
alledged by his Excellency could only tend to confirm an opinion very 
generally entertained that the conduct of Prussia was dictated in reality 
by considerations wholly distinct from the differences existing between 
England and the powers of the North." In concluding his despatch 
Carysfort correctly summarizes the situation: "... I remain persuaded 
that Fear is still the predominant motive of this court, and that its meas- 
ures depend almost exclusively at this moment upon the decisions of the 
Russian Emperor." {English Record Office.') 

^ March 29, 1801, Carysfort encloses in translation a note from the 
Duke of Brunswick to Capt. Decken: " Do not remain any longer here, 
I hope to have the honor of seeing you to-morrow. We have received 
very bad news from Petersburg, from which may be collected that Paul 
makes the fate of the Electorate depend on Malta. I wish the Prince 
would send information as fast as possible to England of this confounded 
situation of affairs. " 

* No record of this conference has been preserved as far as I have been 
able to determine. 

'According to a dispatch to Lusi of March 2Z, cited by Ulmann, the 
marching orders had been issued that day. There is similar evidence 
for a still earlier date. It was with tears in his eyes that Frederick 
WilHam announced to his council his decision to occupy the Electorate, 
and the whole topic was one he could hardly be brought to discuss (Col. 


and not the Duke of Brunswick ^ as had been expected, was 
put in command of the occupying army, and Minister of 
Finance, Schulenburg-Kehnert,^ was dispatched to act 

Zastrow to Helbig, the Saxon envoy, March 12) . Besides the repeated 
assurances given by both the king and Haugwitz that he had no hid- 
den purpose in the occupation (see the reports of the Duke of Cam- 
bridge, Adolphus, and Capt. Decken, already referred to), the king, on 
April 18, wrote Prince Adolphus as follows: ''Monsieur Mon Cousin: 
Si je puis compter sur la justice des autres lors qu'il s'agira d'apprecier 
les mesures que j'ai de suivre, vous aussi devez compter sur la mienne, 
quand occupe d'un seul interet vous m'entretenez du pais qui en est 
I'objet des sollicitudes qu'il vous inspire. Le sentiment qui vous fait 
parler est aussi naturel qui le principe qui m'a fait agir etait juste. Jc 
crois avoir satisfait a Tun comme a Tautre, et m'etre acquitte envers 
Thumanite autant au moins qu'envers d'autres considerations. Sans 
prevoir les bornes que celles-ci pourraient prescrire, je n'oublierai point 
celle-la et jamais des calamites superflues n'auront pese par ma faute 
sur un peuple. Ces sentimens sont absolument independant de ceux que 
je vous porte, Monsieur mon cousin, quelque vrais que soient ces der- 
niers. II en resulte que si I'amitie ne peut rien sur les principes eux 
aussi n'ont rien fou sur elle et que je suis et serai toujours avec Tattach- 
ment le plus sincere. Monsieur mon Cousin, de Votre Altesse Royale 
le bon cousin. 

Potsdam, 18 Avril, 1801. Au Prince Adolphe d'Angletrre." 

Rep. XI, 140 C. I,, Vol. I {Berlin Archives). 

^It is likely the Duke, who had provisionally accepted charge of the 
military arrangements, finally felt it would be putting himself in an em- 
barrassing position if he commanded Prussian troops invading the lands 
of the head of his house. Helbig, Saxon envoy, develops at length the 
idea that the Duke learned at the conference of ulterior aims in the 
Prussian policy, and did not desire in any way to figure as Hanover's 
despoiler. See Helbig to Count Loss, March 31 {Dresden Archives). 
He appends the substance of Paul's indemnity plan, despatched, he says, 
twelve hours after the receipt of Prussia's proposal by the hand of LeCoq. 
This last is quite impossible, as LeCoq did not leave Berlin before March 
13, and would consume almost two weeks in reaching St. Petersburg. 

^Helbig says of him, February 16, 1803: " Le credit arrogant de ce 
Ministre indispose tous les esprits contre lui. Sa disgrace seroit possible 
parce que le Roi le craint et le deteste etqu'autour de ce Prince, il n'y a 
absolumment personne qui plaide sa cause mais comme il n'y a aucun 
sujet capable de le remplacer entierement cette disgrace ne devient pas tre^ 

673 ] ^^ U SSI AN O ecu PA TION OF HA NO VER 235 

as civil governor of the Electorate. The connection of 
the Regency with the sovereign was cut off and the 
ministry reHeved of all responsible part in the general 
government of the land. The local administration was 
left undisturbed, but as a political power Hanover could 
regard herself as non-existent.' I doubt not that many 
a Hanoverian expected to see in this, Prussia's centennial 
year as a kingdom, the end of Hanover's course as an 
independent Electorate. But the day of her political 
resurrection was nearer than anybody could dream. Its 
herald was to be a messenger from the capital on the 

probable." {Dresden Archives.) For Schulenburg's activity under 
Frederick II. see his Denkwurdigkeiten in Forschungen z. Brandenb. u, 
Preuss. Gesch.y xv, 2. 

^ " Hannover miisse sich von der politischen Seite als nicht existirend 
ansehen." Haugwitz to von d. Decken per latter's report of March 24, 
1801. ■ {Hanover Archives.) V. Reden in Berlin was not officially 
recognized by Haugwitz until November. With the death of Paul, and 
the return of Schulenburg to Berlin, the Regency came back to control 
in order to arrange with von Dohm the support of the army. The con- 
nection with King George was nominally suspended throughout the 


Prussian Occupation of Hanover (continued) — 

The Evacuation 

With occupation before it for two months/ as some- 
thing inevitable, the Regency in Hanover had had time 
to consider what it would do when the Prussian occu- 
pation really took place. Yet there was no serious 
thought of opposition. "" The mission of Capt. Decken, 
the friendly attitude of the Duke of Brunswick, who had 
charge of the military details, and Frederick William's 
honorable purposes, had affected a modification of the 
harsh terms at first proposed. The threatening procla- 
mation drafted by Haugwitz,^ and issued by von Schulen- 
burg as civil governor of the Electorate, was framed to 
satisfy the foreign powers whose agent Prussia was/ 

^ Feb. 10, von Reden wrote: "Gott gebe, dass das englische Minis- 
terium gelindere Maasregeln einschlagen moge, weil sonst nach den 
Versicherungen eben dieses Gesandten (Posch, envoy of Bavaria, whom 
twenty years' service in Berlin had made very Prussian-minded) die 
militairische Occupation von Hannover unvermeidlich sein wiirde." 
No, 584 {Hanover) . 

^V. Lenthe in ZetL d. hist. Vereins f. Niedersachsen, 1856, 156-57. 
Pages 149-164 deal with the Prussian occupation of 1801. 

^Capt. Decken's report of interview of March 24 contains Haugwitz's 
statement to Decken that he was then at work on the proclamation. 

*K6ckeritz writes to Haugwitz concerning the instructions H. had 
drafted for Schulenburg: " Ich war iiber diese Instruction ganz entziickt, 
sie bedeckt unser Fehler wegen der langsamen Besetzung und lasset 
auf der andern Seite den Konig in dem schonsten Lichte der Gerechtig- 
keit und Billigkeit erscheinen." {Berliii Archives.) 

236 [674 


The Regency and General von Wallmoden-Gimborn 
accommodated themselves to the new^ situation and signed 
a convention with Schulenberg April 3, 1801. By its 
terms the Hanoverians promised not to resist the move- 
ments of General Kleist's army, whose support they were 
to assume after the first of May. The Hanoverian troops 
then with the Demarcation Army were furloughed or dis- 
tributed as garrisons in rather widely separated towns.' 
All other fortresses and garrison towns, including Ham- 
eln, were turned over to the Prussians. Lastly, a solemn 
promise was given that the Prussian laws and the ordi- 
nances of the government of occupation would be 
strictly obeyed.^ 

The submission was made in bitterness of spirit. The 
ministry to the very last, and indeed throughout the 
summer, remained outwardly unconvinced of a danger 
from France sufficient to justify the occupation. Despite 
the assurances of the Prussian king and his ministry to 
the contrary, the secret purposes which von Reden 
attributed to them in occupying Hanover were accepted 
by the Regency as proved truth. 3 

' Carysfort proposed that they be taken into the English service. 
Carysfort, tothe EngHsh ministry, March 29, 1801. {Eng. Record Office.) 

^The convention is printed in Martens, Rccueil, 2nd. edition, vii, 
351-52. Its opening paragraph sums up the points in Fredk. Wm.'s 
address to the Regency. The full text of the address and of the king's 
proclamation setting forth that his duty to his allies of the Maritime 
League requires the occupation, etc., both dated, March 30, 1801, are 
to be found in Rep. XI, 140, C. I, Vol. I. {Berlin Arc/iives.) 

^ Von Reden's reports of March 2 and 14 show the sort of rumors he 
heard. His opinion of Haugwitz and his intentions is to be found in 
his despatch of March 28, 1801. {No. 584.) After saying that he does 
not believe as many do that Haugwitz has given up his ' ' reunion pro- 
jects," von Reden adds: "Die Gleissnerei dieses Mannes ist von der 
Art, dass er noch manche betriegen wird, und so diirfte es gewiss Geleg- 
enheit genug finden um seine ferneren Demarchen zu beschonigen." 


Their spirit is partially revealed in the closing para- 
graph of the convention by which they make their sub- 
mission. The paragraph is made to embody an allusion 
to Frederick William III.'s solemn promise to restore 
their government and keep their territory intact.' 

The appointment of Schulenburg proved but tempo- 
rary,'' and he was soon relieved of the most unpleasant 
situation in which his duties placed him.^ On the 
eleventh of April the ever serviceable von Dohm was 
ordered to go to Hanover to take charge of a subject 
with which the negotiations of 1796 had made him famil- 
iar — the *' Verpfiegung'^ of Prussian troops at Hanover's 

It is hardly profitable to surmise what would have been 

* Martens, sup. cit., p. 352. The clause about the guarantee of territory 
may well have had some references to keeping the Danes from fixing 
themselves in Lauenburg. Cf. von Schulenburg to Prussian Ministry, 
April 3. Regency to Schulenburg, April 7. {Berlin Archives, Rep. XI, 
140 c, Vol. I.) Schulenburg had difficulty in getting the Regency to 
countermand their orders to the Hanoverian troops to fight if the Danes 
advanced. Haugwitz and Kockeritz had even more difinculty in getting 
King Fredk. Wm. III. to oppose the Danish aggression. 

^Whether this was the original intention, I do not know. He was 
recalled one week after the news of the death of Paul, and was used later 
to organize the provinces assigned to Prussia as an indemnity. 

* So bitter was the feeling against the Prussians that von Schulenburg 
was socially ostracised in Hanover, and persons such as von Ompteda, 
who had known him in Berlin and felt inclined to show him ordinary 
civilities, were treated as abettors of invasion. Schulenburg represented 
to the Regency that faction in Berlin which stood for a temporary occu- 
pation and exploitation of Hanover under the pretext of indemnity for 
English seizures of Prussian vessels. (See von Reden's despatch of 
March 2, 1801, in no. 584.) Von Helbig, the Saxon envoy, writing in 
1803 on the unpopularity of von Schulenburg and Frederick William's 
dislike and fear of him, adds, " II joint une excellente tete a une ambi- 
tion demesuree et une mauvaise coeur." (Feb. 6, 1803 — Dresden Arch- 
ives.) Schulenburg was back in Berlin by April 19. 

^Berlin Archives. Rep. XI, 140 c, Vol. 1. 


the outcome of the situation as it was on the third of 
April; for within twenty-four hours after the submission 
of the Regency, the kaleidoscope of European politics 
had shifted. April 4/ racing Russian and Prussian mes- 
sengers arrived with the news of the death of the Czar 
Paul on the night of March 23-24 — a stroke of apoplexy' 
— a stroke of Fate! The despairing cry of Napoleon, ^ 
the wild rejoicings at Vienna, the relief in London, 
and the confusion of plans in Berlin, as the news of 
the death of Paul swept from capital to capital, are strik- 
ing tributes to the power and place of the realm of Peter 
the Great, even when ruled by a madman. In a twink- 
ling the card house of the Maritime League had come 
tumbling down.^ Napoleon must wait until the day of 
Tilsit to perfect the plans he had seen so fairly under 
way. England halted the triumphant fleet of Parker and 
Nelson, and sought to resume the friendly relations which 
the personal program of the late Czar had so suddenly in- 
terrupted. And Prussia — she might well indulge in vain 
regrets that the assassins had not acted two months, or 
even two weeks earlier. The situation in which she was 
placed by the change at St. Petersburg seemed fully as 
untenable as the one she had tried to occupy since her 
entrance into the Maritime League. From the Prussian 
point of view, the accession of Alexander L removed the 
danger from the side of Russia, but only after that long 
threatening danger had committed the reluctant Freder- 
ick William III, to a step often delayed, ever regretted. 

' Carysfort's despatch of that date. 

■^This was the rumor the first despatches brought. 

'Lucchesini's report of April 17, Bailleu, ii, 38. 

***... ce prince n'existant plus, la convention maritime etait preisque 
dissoute." Haugwitz to Beurnonville, Bailleu, ii, 43. 


It was the irony of fate that the same issue of the Lon- 
don dailies contained the details of Nelson's victory at 
Copenhagen, of the assassination of Paul I., and a copy 
of the proclamation which the king of Prussia sent 
ahead of the army occupying Hanover. The problem 
which this combination of circumstances placed before 
the Prussian king and cabinet was how to get out of 
Hanover without disgrace, or remain in it with peace and 

Let us take up the history of Prussia's stay in Han- 
over from April to November, 1801, from that point of 
view which will at least help us to understand the atti- 
tude of the majority of the powers interested in ousting 
her, while we leave the presentation of the evidence to 
throw what light it may on the motives controlling the 
action of Prussia in these months. 

The summer of 1801 is a period that any self-respecting 
German may well wish to blot out of the history of the 
Fatherland. War had at last ceased for a time on the 
continent. The treaty of Luneville gave Austria and the 
w^eary Empire the long desired and long deferred peace. 
But to what purpose did the renewal of amicable rela- 
tions between the European courts serve? The answer 
is the record of a traffic in lands and peoples such as 
Europe had never before seen.^ The first year of the 
new century saw in its fullest fruition the eighteenth 
century idea that princes might barter in peoples, and 
measure and apportion countries by acreage and popula- 
tion. Most shameful of all, the crowded mart in which 
German sovereigns traded was on foreign soil — in the 

Won Reden wrote from Berlin, March 17, 1801, ''Indemnity 
(Tausch) projects are rising and dying every day." {No, 584, Hanover 


capital of the French.' Secularization and indemnifica- 
tion proved to be two ideas more demoralizing to the 
Germany of 1801 than any other propaganda of Revo- 
lutionary France. They were the rope with which the 
already moribund Empire might end its career. "" 

It is the fear that she is to form part of the Prussian 
indemnification which haunts Hanover during the period 
of Prussian occupation. It is this interpretation that 
England, 3 Russia and Austria are all too ready to put on 
Frederick William's delay in evacuating the Electorate. 
It is the desirable indemnity towards wdiich Napoleon 
and self-interest pushed the group of advisers next to 
the king in Berlin. Might not the statesmanship of 
opportunism urge the ruler of Prussia to accept the rich 
return that occasion had brought within his grasp? 

In the secret articles of the treaty of August 5, 1796, 
Prussia had received the promise of complete indemnity 
for its lost trans-Rhenane provinces. Since then the 
question had never ceased to interest the Prussian cabi- 
net. After due consideration the king of Prussia, on the 
advice of Haugwitz following the plan urged by Harden- 
berg, had asked Napoleon to assign him his indemnity 

^All these evils are even more pronounced in 1802. See Treitschke, 
Deutsche Gesch., i, 184, 185. 

'■' It is to be regretted that there is no general history of the idea of 
secularization from the period of the Lutheran revolt nor any extended 
account of its combination in 1795-1803, with the idea of indemnifying 
German states for their losses beyond the Rhine and in Italy. Hausser, 
iij PP- 333-435? is the best brief account available. A considerable 
amount of material is given in E. A. von HofT, Das teutsche Reich vor 
der franzosischen Revolution und nach deni FHeden von Luniville. 
(Gotha, 1801.) 

' Cf. despatches to and from Lord Carysfort. Of the London dailies, 
the Porcupine is most certain that the whole project existed anterior to 
the Maritime League. Cf., e. g., issue of March 16, 1801. 


in Franconia, that is, the bishoprics of Bamberg and 
Wurzburg. Napoleon delayed on the pretext that he 
wished to learn the opinion of Russia in the matter. 
Prussia, fearful that Austria was being favored, increased 
her claims and renewed her urgency. The French 
leaders had a different view of their policy in Germany 
than that maintained up to 1797. Instead of increasing 
Prussia and creating a balance to Austrian power,' they 
had felt the reasoning of such statesmen as Sieyes, who 
urged that French interest lay in building up a number 
of small states which could be formed into confederations 
under French influence.^ Russia had made known its 
views in Berlin on March 25, when Kriidener had pre- 
sented to Haugwitz the idea that Prussia was to seek its 
indemnity in Hanover. This was the opportunity the 
French had long waited.^ With Russian cooperation 
they might well hope to force Prussia to seat itself for- 
ever in the German lands of the English royal family. 
Despite the tempting offers of Hanover, Prussia con- 
tinued to urge the powers to assign its indemnity in 
Franconia.^ On the thirteenth of April, Talleyrand told 
the Prussian ambassador, Lucchesini, that Napoleon did 
not approve of Prussia's petition to be allowed to occupy 
the Franconian bishoprics. ^ Napoleon, hoping for the 
new Czar's cooperation in this part of Paul's indemnity 
plan,^ urged that Prussia accept Hanover as a recompense 

^See Carnot's views as expressed in Aug., 1796. Bailleu, i, 87. 
^ Cf. his report of July 14, 1798, in Bailleu, i, 481. 
^Lucchesini, April 5, Bailleu, ii, yj- 

* Lucchesini, after explaining to Talleyrand Paul's indemnity plan and 
the reasons for rejecting it, renews the demand for the S. German bish- 
oprics, April 10, 1801, in Bailleu, ii, yi^ 38. 

* Bailleu, ii, 38. 

* Lucchesini, April 24, Bailleu, ii, 40. 


for the loss of its provinces on the left bank of the 

There was much in the situation that seemingly made 
it easy for Prussia to yield to the formal offer of Hanover 
made from St. Petersburg and then from Paris. "^ It 
hardly needed a Talleyrand to point out to such a group 
as Haugwitz, Lombard, Hardenberg, and Kockeritz the 
advantages of acquiring such an increase of power and 
territory in North Germany. ^ The idea was not new in 
Berlin, and before the occupation there had been influen- 
tial advisers who felt Prussia should enter Hanover never 
to withdraw. Their logic was strengthened by the easy 
opportunity which Napoleon's offer gave them of shift- 
ing the responsibility. If France offered Hanover, why 
not accept it, said this group. '^ Besides the manifest 
increase in territory, Hanover would serve to unite the 
scattered Prussian possessions in lower Saxony and 
Westphalia. It needs no direct quotations from the 

^ Lucchesini, in his dispatch of April 24, details the interview with 
Talleyrand. Bailleu, ii, 39-40. 

^ May 2, 1801, Talleyrand directed Beurnonville to make a tender of 
Hanover as Prussia's indemnity. The French offer specified the inde- 
pendence of the Hanseatic cities, the renunciation of all the claims to 
indemnity, that the electoral title of Hanover was to pass to Hesse- 
Cassel, and France was to be confirmed in its rights to dispose of 
Neuchatel and Valengin. See Bailleu, ii, 40-41. 

'Von Reden (dispatches of March 2 and 15, 1801, in no. 584, Han- 
over Archives) says there are two groups in Berlin, each having a dif- 
ferent view of the occupation. The military party and finance ministers, 
led by von Schulenberg, believe in temporary occupation and the 
exploitation of the province. The second group, Lombard, Beyme, 
Haugwitz and Colonel Kockeritz, favor the union of Hanover with 

*Von Reden's dispatch of June 30. The only diflficulty this group 
recognized was the opposition of the king. {Hanover Archives.) 


political discussions of that time to make it clear how 
strong a case such a group might present.' 

There were features of the case not fully known to 
Napoleon which gave Prussia reason to pause and con- 
sider before accepting Hanover as an indemnity. It is a 
tribute to the well-meaning character of King Frederick 
William that one must recall first of all his solemn assur- 
ances to Prince Adolphus and Lord Carysfort that he had 
no ulterior aims in occupying Hanover. The promises 
which he had then made, the king might be expected to 
keep,^ even if his opposition to the aggressive elements 
in his cabinet had not been fortified by the attitude of 
England and Russia and the vigorous protests of the 
Electorate itself against Prussian occupation after the 
Maritime League was practically dissolved. ^ 

Since it was Russia whose precipitancy had put Han- 
over into Prussia's hands, it was natural that the Berlin 
Cabinet should look to Alexander L to support them in 
a step which had been taken with a view to treating 
Hanover as a part of the indemnity fund. 

Their fears that the death of Paul had deranged all 
plans fathered by him did not long lack confirmation.'* 
The young Czar found in his own realm all the problems 

^ This importance of Hanover to Prussia is shown by Haugwitz when, 
in discussing the indemnity question, he says that if they take Hildes- 
heim it will bring Hanover more under Prussian control. Bailleu, 
ii, 2T. 

^ When the French in June renewed their proposal that Prussia keep 
Hanover, Kockeritz wrote Haugwitz that he thought the idea would be 
very acceptable to the king, if the changed circumstances allowed and 
it did not run counter to the treaty of Luneville. Kockeritz had not 
talked with the king on the subject. Bailleu, ii, 50. 

'June 17, von Lenthe handed a vigorous protest to Jacobi in London. 
* Kockeritz to Haugwitz, April 4, adds, " Jedoch die Vorsehung weiss 
am Besten was gut ist." {Berlin Archives.) 


he desired to solve, and was in no mood to continue a 
hopeless crusade for the maritime principles which his 
father had espoused. Sweden and Denmark had already 
been humbled by the fleet of Parker and Nelson, then on 
its way up the Baltic. Alexander hastily opened com- 
munication with these commanders and with their gov- 
ernment. Negotiations were soon opened by England 
through Lord St. Helens in St. Petersburg, and Prussia, 
without a single war vessel, found herself the unsup- 
ported defender of maritime neutrality.' 

The answer which Haugwitz made to the French ambas- 
sador would naturally, under the circumstances detailed 
above, be fully as cautious as the reply given Paul when 
he made a similar offer two months before. In March, 
Prussia could have counted on two great powers favor- 
ing Hanover as a Prussian acquisition. Now (May) there 
was only France to look to, or rather the hard cold ego- 
ism of Napoleon, who might make them his tool only to 
abandon them at a critical juncture. Haugwitz let it be 
seen that nothing would suit the king of Prussia better 
than Hanover as his indemnity, but his acceptance of 
the French ofifer was conditional. Prussia was still occu- 
pying Hanover as a pledge for the protection of English 
commerce, Haugwitz said, and would retain it as her in- 
demnity if England persisted in her opposition to the 
principles of the Maritime League after France had made 

*In G. Martens, Recueil, etc., Suppl. ii, 461, is part of a letter pur- 
porting to be from Czar Alexander to King Frederick William demand- 
ing that Hanover and the mouths of the Elbe and Weser be evacuated. 
Baron Reden, in his report of July 22, 1801, says that among other 
correspondence shown him by Kriidener in proof of Russia's friendly 
efforts on the Electorate's behalf was a letter from the Czar to the king 
dated May 6. Dr. Bailleu assures me that in gathering material for 
volume 29 of the Pub. a. den K. preuss. Archiven no such letter could 
be found. 


it clear to England that such obstinacy would result in 
the Prussian retention of Hanover. As such action of 
Prussia's might lead to difficulty, King Frederick Wil- 
liam was not ready to involve himself unless he was sure 
Napoleon was so in earnest about the plan that he would 
not be deterred by possible consequences in carrying it 
through. All the conditions attached to the French offer 
are swallowed without a grimace. If Hanover falls to 
Prussia as a result of the French action, her gratitude 
will be boundless. Such in substance was the answer 
that Prussia made mutatis mutandis to both Russia and 
France when they offered her Hanover. The reply to 
Russia, reaching St. Petersburg several days after Paul's 
death, had been passed over in silence by the new Czar 
and his ministry.' There can be no more satisfactory 
comment on Prussia's attitude in the whole matter than 
that made by the disgusted Bonaparte. ''The First Con- 
sul thinks he sees in the answer of the Berlin Cabinet," 
said Talleyrand to Lucchesini, "a desire to have, and a 
fear to show this desire, a will subordinated to reserva- 
tions that are rather embarrassing. One would say that 
you desire what France offers you, but you wish France 
to take the lead and secure it for you."^ One might have 
replied that Napoleon could not object if the power which 
had found itself a cat's-paw for Russia and France showed 
that it had learned, and wished to practice, this lesson of 
its experience. 

Meanwhile Haugwitz, in reply to the clamoring of the 
Hanoverian Regency and the inquiries of Carysfort, 
shifted, with a suspicious readiness, the ground on which 
he based a continued occupation. He first urged the 

* Beurnonville to Talleyrand, May 24, in Bailleu, ii, 41-43. 

* Bailleu, ii, 43, footnote i. 


continuance of the neutrality of North Germany after the 
Maritime League was inactive and then gave the fumbhng 
excuse that Prussia could do nothing towards removing its 
troops until it had notification from Russia that friendly 
relations had been resumed with England. Allusions 
were made to possible dangers from the French, but 
that was scarcely urged as a reason. Meanwhile, as has 
been pointed out, the Berlin cabinet was listening to 
Napoleon's offers of Hanover, and hoping that England 
might be brought to sacrifice Hanover in return for 
some grant of colonial possessions.' Who was to pay 
this price for Prussia's indemnity does not appear. In 
London, Jacobi was following his instructions and dodg- 
ing all discussion of Hanover. Plainly, the government 
in Berlin meant to maintain its advantageous position in 
Hanover until something turned up. They were count- 
ing on the weakness of the new Czar's policy and the 
necessity in Russia of bringing order out of the chaos 
created by the late Czar.^ England, too, had seldom been 
known to exert itself on behalf of King George's German 
states. 3 Austria, by its own confession, was too weak to 
interfere with Prussia's ambitious plans. ^ To that in- 

^ Instructions for LeCoq, Prussia's agent in St. Petersburg, May 18, 
1801, and LeCoq's reply, May2i/June2. LeCoq suggested Osnabriick, 
etc., as indemnities for the king of England. Despatches to and from 
LeCoq who left Berlin, March 13, to arrange with Paul indemnity mat- 
ters and measures necessitated by the armed neutrality are in Rep. XI, 
Russland, 149 D, March, 1801, to January, 1802. [Berlin Archives.) 

'See Lusi's dispatch of April 5/12 (?), 1801. April 26/ May 8, Russia 
rejected Prussia's plans of indemnity in Franconia. 

'Lord St. Helens, then (June, 1801) in St. Petersburg, repeated the 
oft-made declaration that the English cabinet did not let considerations 
about Hanover afifect its actions. 

* Count Stadion's remark to von Reden. See latter's despatch of May 
23, 1801, in no. 589, Hanover Archives. 


creasing group among the king's advisers who desired 
to retain Hanover, the outlook must have seemed at first 
rather hopeful. If England and Russia were really in- 
different to the annexation of Hanover, France eager for 
it, and Austria weak enough to feel that she must make 
the most of the inevitable by accepting all that was offered 
her in return,^ the Electorate would be left to face its 
fate single-handed. King Frederick William's sense of 
honor remained to be dealt with, but that problem had 
been solved before.^ 

The summer of 1801 was to reveal something seldom 
paralleled in the history of the one hundred and twenty- 
five years of Hanoverian-English connection. For once, 
the English cabinet, with Lord Hawkesbury as Secretary 
for Foreign Affairs, directed its policy with a view to the 
preservation of the Electorate, which was now unjustly 
suffering for England's opinions on international law.^ On 
the eighth of May the English ministry for the first time 
mentions Hanover in its despatches to the ambassador in 
Berlin. The able and disinterested Carysfort, who had 
already raised his voice in Hanover's behalf,* was to con- 
vey to Prussia the assurance that there could be no resump- 
tion of friendly relations between England and Prussia 

" Carysfort felt that Austria needed to be braced up by being told Eng- 
land's view of the continued occupation. Cf. Carysfort to Hawkesbury, 
June 23. 

'^ See notes of Kockeritz to Haugwitz on the matter of getting King 
Frederick William III, to oust the Danes from Lauenburg for an ex- 
ample of the king's ways and Kockeritz's management of him. April 
2, 4, 9, 12. Rep. XI, N. 140 C. 7, Vol. I. {Berlin Archives.) 

^ V. Lenthe, in his defence, elaborates on England's fear of Hanover- 
ian influence and general indifference to Hanover's fate. He says this 
was the case in 1801. Cf. Zeit. d. hist. Vereins fUr Niedersachsen , 
1856, pp. 162-164. 

^See his dispatches of March 26 and April 19, 1801. 


''as long as his Prussian Majesty's conduct is in the least 
degree equivocal respecting Hanover." ' Every con- 
sideration of honor and policy was put at Carysfort's 
disposal, that he might the better accomplish his end. 
The directions could have been sent to no more earnest 
friend of Hanover than Lord Carysfort. From this day 
until the twenty-fifth of October, when his last official 
despatch conveys the news that the Prussian troops are 
ordered to leave Hanover, the activity of Lord Carysfort 
in behalf of the Electorate is incessant. To his mind, 
** the government of the united kingdom was bound by 
every principle of Honor and Policy to support and vin- 
dicate by the exertion of all its Power and resources, a 
people invaded in such a manner and upon such pretences 
as had been alleged in the case of Hanover."^ He sup- 
ported with vigor and persistency the protests of the 
Hanoverian Regency against the Prussian financial ex- 
actions ^ in raising support for their force of about 
25,000 men.^ He saw Haugwitz often in the name of 
the king of Great Britain, and drove the minister from 
point to point in his shifting defence of the Prussian re- 
tention of the Electorate. Early convinced of Frederick 
William's good intentions,^ he came to fear that the 

'Instructions to Carysfort, May 8, 1801. {Eng. Record Office.) 
'Carysfort's dispatch of July 8, 1801. 
' Carysfort's dispatch of June 20. 

*The Regency protested to von Dohm on June 14, and on June 17, v. 
Lenthe in London and von Reden in BerHn handed the representatives 
of Prussia demands in the name of the king for the evacuation. See 
Des. II, no. 70, Rescripte des Ministerhims zu Hannover an den Ge- 
sandten v. Ompteda zu Rege^isburg, etc. {Hanover Archives) , for copies 
of these memorials and correspondence with von Dohm during the 

^ Lord Carysfort, May 17: "Whatever may have been the secret inten- 
tions of some members of the Prussian Ministry respecting Hanover, 


cabinet had only used the Maritime Convention as an 
excuse for the annexation plans they cherished.^ Inter- 
mittently and weakly supported by the Russian ambassa- 
dor, Kriidener,'' all the protests of Carysfort and von 
Reden were unsuccessful in getting the Prussian gov- 
ernment to declare its intentions, or even arrange for a 
continued occupation under a joint agreement between 
England and Hanover. The failure is to be attributed 
less to the zeal of the English ministry and its repre- 
sentative ^ than to two other noteworthy causes. As 
Russian urgency had been foremost in pushing Frederick 
William III. into the occupation, equally vigorous Rus- 
sian action might have hurried Prussia out of the Elec- 
torate. It was this withdrawal of Russia from European 
interests, and particularly from a situation she had cre- 

the King, I am fully persuaded, has never entertained the idea of appro- 
propriating it to Himself, and the Sentiments of the Cabinet on the 
subject I now believe to be one with his Majesty's." Czar Alexander I. 
had the same trust in Frederick William's good intentions, but was sus- 
picious of his advisers. Von Reden, Aug. i. {Hanover Archives.) 
Duke of Oldenburg, who had been to St. Petersburg, brought this mes- 
sage to von Reden. 
^Carysfort, June 30, 1801. {English Record Office.) 

'''Russia did not seek to make effective its desires as to Hanover until 
July, 1801. Von Reden, July 21 {No. 589), and Carysfort, July 8, 1801. 

^Downing St., July 18 (Hawkesbury to Carysfort), ". . . . and 
although there is no intention on the part of this country to interfere in 
the Internal concerns of the Electorate no steps can be taken towards 
adjusting the differences which have arisen between Great Britain and 
Prussia so long as His Prussian Majesty continues to menace the king's 
Electoral Dominions. As soon as he had explained Himself on this 
point to the satisfaction of the Hanoverian government and comes to 
an amicable understanding with them, there will, I trust, be found no 
serious obstacle to the return of perfect harmony and cordiality between 
the Courts of Berlin and St. James." Rec'd in Berlin, July 26. {Eng- 
lish Record Office.) See von Reden's despatch of July 28. {Han. Ar- 


ated, that nullified Carysfort's efforts.' The second 
reason for Prussia's hesitancy in giving England any 
pledges, or entering into any agreement concerning the 
integrity of Hanover, was the fear that England was 
seeking to draw her into entanglements that would ex- 
cite Napoleon's wrath. It was a reasonable fear, and the 
action of England in its various proposals concerning 
the evacuation or further occupation of Hanover, bore 
sometimes the stamp of activity in the Electorate's be- 
half, with a view to a future English-Prussian rapproche- 
ment against France. "^ 

With the conclusion of the Russian-English negotia- 
tions ^ from which Prussia had been excluded, there was 
a change in the attitude of both Russia and Prussia. 
The Prussian government was now left with no excuse 
for continued occupation except to exclude a possible 
French invasion, a danger which had^ been hinted at,* 
but which does not appear in the foreground until all 

* See his dispatches of June 30, July 8, July 16, August 5, et al. {Ens:-* 
lish Record Office.) 

'Carysfort has the point in mind in his negotiations and proposals. 
Cf. his dispatches of April 8, July 8, July 22, etc. {English Record 
Office.) Haugwitz was fully conscious of this, "... Count Haugwitz 
dwelt upon the suspicions which hung over all their transactions with 
Great Britain, that there was always at bottom a design to draw them 
into open hostilities against France . . . ." (Lord Carysfort, July 22, 
and to same effect, August 5.) 

^The Russian-English treaty was signed in St. Petersburg, June 17, 
and acceded to by Denmark and Sweden. Cf. Martens, Suppi. au 
Recueil, etc., ii, 476 and 484. 

*As early as April 8, Carysfort admitted that the fear of the French 
was not ungrounded. He again considers it as worth reckoning with 
(June 30), but no line to him from the British ministry ever considers 
this danger worth mention other than as a ground for urging Prussia to 
prepare to oppose France wath English co-operaton. {English Record 


other excuses have failed one by one. Coincident with 
the disappearance of Prussia's proclaimed grounds for 
continuing to hold Hanover came greater efforts on be- 
half of Hanover by the Russian ambassador, Kriidener. 
It needed but a hint to this strenuous envoy, who had 
been waiting a chance to prove himself as serviceable to 
the new regime in St. Petersburg as he had been to the 
ministry of Paul I. Soon he was fairly outdoing Carys- 
fort.' His readiness to present joint notes with Carys- 
fort, and to confer with and advise von Reden, marked 
not only the stimulated activity of a single diplomat, but 
the resumption by Russia of her normal policy in North 
German affairs. The blindness with which Paul had 
thrown Hanover into Prussia's lap — a gift that not only 
enriched Prussia immoderately, but greatly endangered 
the Russian influence in East Frisia, Oldenburg, Meck- 

^ Very likely Krudener was put en rapport with the changed attitude 
in St. Petersburg at the same time that Woronzow in London received 
the following instructions dated June 10, 1801: ** . . . il serait superflu 
de rappeler ici les motifs qui determinerent mon auguste predecesseur a 
remettre I'electorat Hanovre entre les mains de la Prusse. Cette prise 
de possession devait cependant etre momentanee et servir de gage jusqu'a 
r arrangement definitif des affaires du Nord. Aujourdhui qu'elles sont 
terminees par mon entremise, j'ai fait valoir ce titre pour insister sur 
I'evacuation du pays de Hanovre, et la reponse que j'attends encore a 
cette juste demande servira de regie a mes relations ulterieures avec la 
cour de Berlin." The instructions go on with a rather bombastic state- 
ment of Alexander's system. Desiring to maintain the balance in Ger- 
many between Austria and Prussia, he has rejected the excessive in- 
demnity demands of Prussia. For the instructions quoted, see Woron- 
zow Archives, vol. x, 264 ff. For Woronzow's tart comments on the 
system they exploit, see same volume, pp. 286 ff. Any investigator 
whose work touches Russia in the latter part of the eighteenth or earlier 
part of the nineteenth century will find these Woronzow Family Ar- 
chives a mine of material. For an appreciative summary of their con- 
tents, see Briickners review of the thirty volumes in Hist. Zeit., vol. 
Iv, 207-261. On Simon Woronzow, the Russian minister in London, 
see Memoirs of Prince Adam Czartoryski, i, 287-288. (London, 1888.) 


lenburg and the Hanseatic cities — was succeeded by the 
polic}^ of balancing- Austria against Prussia while keep- 
ing the latter from becoming too powerful in North 
Germany. The net result of the constant protests and 
threats of the Regency in Hanover,^ backed up by the 
representations of Carysfort for England and Kriidener 
for Russia, was to make it as hard for the Prussian cab- 
inet to keep Frederick William's troops in Planover as it 
had been to get the king to order them sent there. 
The last vestige of a reason based on obligations to its 
northern ally^ disappeared, when, early in July, Kriidener 

' Their plans for evacuation and threats to cut off the supplies for the 
Prussian troops are incessant at this period, with the possible exception 
of the last three weeks of August and the first part of September. No 
utterance of theirs ever manifests any fear of the French, or any other 
view than that it was a Prussian excuse. Their clamorings v^cre 
stilled in the weeks mentioned by the visit of v. Reden to Hanover to 
assure them of his own conviction that there v/as a real danger at that 
time, that Augereau's troops would move in if Prussia evacuated the 

^Jacobi in London after handing in an evasive reply to Carysfort's 
energetic representations on the matter, refrained, as instructed, from 
further discussion. See his despatches of June 5, 19, 21. July 6, Haug- 
vvitz instructs him to plead lack of instructions if von Lenthe wished to 
discuss the matter. These directions are repeated AugusL 28, i8ci. 
Balan (acting in Jacobi's absence) is told to maintain an absolutely 
passive conduct and report his observations to the king. See also 
Haugwitz to Balan, Sept. 4 and October 2. R. XI, 173, England^ 
Conv., 175, Vol. III. {Berlin Archives.) Haugwitz told v. Reden in 
Berlin that he could only discuss the matter with the principaFin the 
case, England. This was the attitude he assumed from the date c*^ the 
Prussian note of Feb. 12 until the Prussian troops withdrew in Nov., 
1801. At the same time that v. Reden and v. Lenthe were passed over 
because England was the principal in the case (c/. Carysfort' s dispatch 
of June 20) Carysfort was informed that Haugwitz could "under no cir- 
cum.stances treat of any matter touching the Maritime League until he 
had received authentic and direct communication as to thejisentiments 
of its members." Caryfort's protests that the Maritime League, and 
with it Prussia's excuse for seizing Hanover, had fallen, and that Prussia 


was instructed "to express to the King, his Imperial 
Majesty's wish that the restoration of Hanover may be 
effected." ^ 

Whatever hopes of retaining Hanover Haugwitz and 
his associates had cherished, they must now have per- 
ceived difficulties that lay in the way of their realization. 
The situation was an anxious one, for they had staked 
their hope on a rich indemnity for the comparatively 
trivial losses beyond the Rhine. They had chosen wealthy 
bishoprics in Franconia only to have them put beyond 
their grasp, while Hanover, an unexpected plum, was 
placed within their reach. Now that, too, was slipping 
from them. The king, disgusted with the whole indem- 
nity business, was becoming more unmanageable as Eng- 
land and Russia pressed for at least a declaration of his 
intentions in continuing the Hanoverian occupation; 
moreover, Russia was not now likely to forward a plan 
that called for any indemnity approaching the value of 
Hanover; the French, long suspicious of a Prussian- 
English understanding'' concerning the continued occu- 

was left standing alone in contradiction to all she had hitherto avowed, 
brought Haugwitz to some cautious inquiries about the king of Eng- 
land's desires in the matter considering the danger from France. (See 
Carysfort's dispatch of June 22).) The flimsiness of Haugwitz referring 
to matters of the Maritime League is too evident. The Czar Alexander 
had already indicated his divergence from the policy of Paul (Martens, 
Recueil, Suppl., ii, 461), and all three of the northern powers had 
entered into negotiations, from which Prussia had been excluded by the 
action of England's representative, Lord St. Helens. It is much more 
likely that Haugwitz was still awaiting a definite answer to his inquiry of 
May 18, as to whether Russia would include Hanover in the indemnity 
fund or England cede it in return for colonial possessions. This assump- 
tion is not invalidated by the lapse of time since it was made. It then 
took dispatches three to four weeks to pass between Berlin and St. 
Petersburg and return. 

^Carysfort's dispatch, no. 62, of July 8. {English Record Office.) 
'^Bailleu, ii, 44. 


pation of Hanover, were growing harder to satisfy 
and manifesting less likelihood of giving their support 
to an extensive indemnity for Prussia. Lastly, the 
renewal of friendly relations with Austria in order to 
effect a division of the promised spoils had not ended 
favorably for projects on Hanover. It again appears in 
the accounts given by the Austrian agent. Count Sta- 
dion, that Prussia would have been glad of Planover 
above every other recompense, and that Austria wanted 
Bavaria as badly. But neither power played its game 
with an open hand. Neither would take the odium of 
proposing what they both wished, for fear the other 
might only be drawing them out in order to discredit 
them in the eyes of the rest of Germany.^ The crisis in 
the situation came the first week in August. After sev- 
eral months of feinting and dodging, the Prussian cabi- 
net was brought up with a halt and forced to reveal its 
hand, to make known its intentions as to Hanover and 
its plans for an indemnity. To this result several influ- 
ences contributed. 

The English ministry had remained unaffected by 
Haugwitz's assurances that there was a pressing danger 
from the French if Prussia should evacuate Hanover.^ 
King George had in no way indicated that he desired a 
continuation of the occupation, and Frederick William 
had declared, despite Haugwitz's opposition, that this 
occupation would cease if the king of England desired 

^ See facts given by A. Beer, Archiv fur osterreichische Geschichte, 
vol. Hi, p. 492 ff, particularly p. 497. It is noticeable that all through 
June, Prussia keeps Hanover in mind and only by July 20, comes to the 
definite discussion of another indemnity. 

^See Carysfort's despatches of June 2^ and 30, and Hawkesbury*s in- 
structions to him dated London, July 18. {English Record Office.) 


it/ The English cabinet, though anxious to get a hold 
on Prussia, rejected the idea of paying her subsidies for 
continuing an occupation which originated in hostiHty to 
Great Britain,^ and they made the renewal of English in- 
tercourse with Prussia depend on the evacuation of the 
Electorate. 3 Kriidener, on behalf of Russia, though more 
readily convinced of the French danger, was now confer- 
ring daily with Carysfort."^ The Austrian negotiations 
had failed to bring the two German rivals to mutual 
good will. 5 The Regency at Hanover had on July 25, 
declared that the support of the Prussian troops would 
cease August 21, and Gen. Kleist had threatened to for- 
age if supplies were not forthcoming.^ Napoleon, con- 
vinced that the Prussian occupation of the mouths of the 
Elbe, Ems and Weser meant no real hostility to Eng- 
land, was formulating plans which, if executed, would 

' Carysfort's dispatch of July 16. Haugwitz tried to impress Carysfort 
with the great interest that George, as king of Great Britain, had in 
having the occupation continued. Haugwitz declared, ''that his own 
sense of the danger was such that if it depended on him the occupation 
of the Electorate should be continued even at the risk of the present 
displeasure of Great Britain; for that he was convinced he should ulti- 
mately obtain the thanks of His Britannic Majesty by such a conduct; 
but that the King, His Master, was determined not to retain possession 
of the country without His Majesty's express consent." 

'^ Haugwitz had suggested ;!f30,ooo a month. (C/. Carysfort's dispatch 
of July 16 quoted above.) Carysfort favored it if it would in any way 
draw Prussia to the English side. 

^Instructions to Carysfort, July 18, 1801. 

^ He is certainly a very active man in this period, both as a channel 
between Haugwitz and Carysfort and in co-operating with Carysfort. 
See Carysfort's despatches of July 25, August 5 and August 8. {E72glish 
Record Office.) 

" Cf. article by A. Beer, Archiv fur oesterr. Gesch., vol. lii. 

^See von Reden's report of July 28, in No. 589 {Hanover Archives) . 
Haugwitz and Carysfort had both been to him to urge that support of 
troops be continued. Haugwitz called it a case of ** periculum in mora.** 


only increase Prussia's embarrassment. Not even the 
neutrality system, which had gathered the minor powers 
of North Germany around her, remained to conceal the 
weakness of her position.' She stood practically alone 
in Europe. 

August 8, 1801, marks the turning point in the history 
of the complications of this year. First, Prussia, after 
much wavering, declared its intentions as to Hanover in 
most unequivocal language, though refusing to enter 
into any written agreement with Great Britain as to the 
further occupation necessitated by the French danger. 
King Frederick William let it be known that ''he ab- 
horred the thought of usurping King George's Electoral 
Dominions upon any pretext whatever," and that 'Miis 
certain knowledge of the French intention to invade the 
Electorate when the Prussians should be withdrawn was 
the sole reason of his ordering them to remain." Sec- 
ond, it removed the chief reason for doubting the sin- 
cerity of its good intentions in Flanover by specifying 
at the Diet in Regensburg the indemnity it desired.' 
Third, it was successful in convincing von Reden, the 
Hanoverian envoy, that the danger from France was so 
pressing that he should take advantage of the permission 
the Regency gave him, proceed to Hanover, and lay the 
necessity of continued occupation before the King- 
Elector's advisers. Lastly, on the day which the de- 
spatches of von Reden and Carysfort mark as revealing 
Prussia's purposes, Talleyrand, speaking for the First 
Consul, despatched the draft of a convention with Prussia 

^ Lucchesini, Hist, of the Confederation of the Rhine. From the 
Italian, by J. D. D\yyer (London, 1821). See pp. iic-iii for com- 
ment's on Prussia's forfeiture of the confidence of the minor states as a 
result of the occupation. 

''Carysfort's dispatch of August 8, 1801. 


which called for the remission into French hands of the 
electorate of Hanover/ 

The details of the four important considerations thus 
conjoined can only be sketched. The declaration of 
King Frederick William's good intentions towards Han- 
over was produced by the combined Hanoverian-English 
pressure. The situation late in July had become so crit- 
ical that Haugwitz indicated through Baron Kriidener^ 
the Russian ambassador, that, in order to satisfy the 
Regency which had refused further supplies, he would be 
willing to enter into special engagements to defend the 
Electorate and to withdraw when King George should 
request it.'' Hopeful of having at last attained his double 
object of securing Hanover's safety and establishing an 
English-Prussian understanding, Carysfort drafted a 
series of four articles in accordance with what Baron 
Kriidener said Haugwitz would be willing to accept. 
But Haugwitz had gone farther than his royal master 
would follow. Frederick William stood on his dignity 
and refused any written guarantee, holding that his word 
freely pledged to Prince Adolphus and confirmed by his 
ministry's assurances of good intentions must suffice. ^ 
Though convinced that there was a real danger from 
the French, Carysfort felt that the failure of his treaty 
proposals gave him no excuse for ceasing to obey the 
instructions laid down by the English ministry. Instead 
of helping Haugwitz placate von Reden and the Han- 
overian Regency, Carysfort insisted with them that the 

^ Bailleu, ii, 52. 

'^Carysfort's dispatch of July 25, 1801. 

•' I feel that this reason offered by Haugwitz is worth more credence 
than Carysfort gave it. Undoubtedly both king and Cabinet feared that 
England would use any agreement to embroil Prussia with France .^ 

597 ] P^ U SSI AN O ecu PA TION OF HA NO VER 259 

Electorate should be evacuated.' Most uncomfortable 
of all, he had at his command the services of the Russian 
minister. The longer Prussia delayed revealing her in- 
tentions, the greater was the distrust of these three 
powers, and the more insistent their demands. August 
8, the dispatches of von Reden and Carysfort show 
Prussia's concerted effort to get into shape to face the 
danger from France. Baron Jacobi, then in Berlin on 
leave of absence, went to both Carysfort and von Reden,' 
and assured them in the king's name that the king had 
but one purpose, and that was to hold Hanover for its 
own good and restore it when the danger was past. 
These assurances the king repeated in person to Carys- 
fort. ^ At the same time Baron Kriidener, probably at 
Haugwitz's suggestion, showed the English ambassador 
all the correspondence between St. Petersburg and Berlin 
on the matter of Hanover. This confidence furnished to 
Carysfort further proof of the steadiness with which 

' Carysfort's dispatch of August 5. 

"See their despatches of this date. V. Reden's is in No. 587 {Han. 
Archives) . The plan had been to send Jacobi or Alvensleben to Han- 
over but this was abandoned for fear of exciting the French. V. Reden, 
as above. Jacobi told Carysfort that King Frederick William was so 
convinced of the danger from France that he desired only that his 
troops might be supported. Further than that, "he made no condi- 
tions whatever and particularly as to the questions of Maritime law and 
commerce upon which objects he should make no propositions to his 
Majesty ..." Compare this with Beurnonville's report of August 24. 
Bailleu, ii, 55 et seg. 

'His Majesty had concluded in these words: "J'espere, Monsieur, 
que vous etes content de ce que Je vous ai fait dire pars [sic] le Baron 
de Jacobi, et que sa Majeste Britannique croira au vrai desir que J'ai de 
cultiver I'amitie et la bonne Intelligence avec elle. Dans les circon- 
stances ou nous sommes il fautagir avec circonspection, et si Sa Majeste 
trouve a propos, Je pense que nous ferons bien de rester encore quelque 
peu de Tems dans le Hanovre." Carysfort, Aug. 8, 1801 {English 
Record Office) . 


King Frederick William had asserted fair purposes as 
the basis of his conduct/ Von Reden was attacked as 
skillfully. Liitzow, the minister of Oldenburg, who had 
served as a go-between for England and Russia in 
March, wrote in behalf of the Czar and Lord St. Helens 
an assurance of Prussia's good intentions and France's 
evil designs. Other good friends of Hanover, such as 
the Bishop of Liibeck, and the Dukes of Holstein and 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, represented the fear of Auge- 
reau's army as well-grounded.^ Hanover would be in- 
evitably lost if the support of the Prussian troops ceased. 
Haugwitz, Kriidener and Carysiort all urged that von 
Reden should go to Hanover and lay before the Regency 
the many considerations that necessitated a continuance 
of the supplies for the army.^ As a final stroke, the man 
whose uncertain diplomacy had engendered the distrust 
that was now hampering every move he might hope to 
make, put himself on record as agreeing with all that his 
royal master had promised. The faithful old Deluc, 
whom Haugwitz had used for the last four years as a 
confidant and messenger in matters between England 
and Prussia, was summoned to Charlottenburg. There 
Haugwitz talked over with him the whole subject of 
Prussian policy towards France and England, and allowed 
Deluc to make a minute of the conversation, which, 

^ Carysfort, Aug. 8, 1801. There are two despatches on this date with 
numerous enclosures. 

^V. Reden's dispatch of Aug. 3, 1801 \no. 5871 and August 8(?). 
Von Reden encloses an unsigned letter from Charlottenburg dated Aug. 
7, and written by the king's authority/. It deals with the serious situ- 
ation created by the Hanoverian refusal to support Prussian troops after 
Aug. 21. Hanover will inevitably be lost if the Prussians withdraw. 
It announced that von Alvensleben will be sent to Hanover to treat 
with the Regency. {^Hanover Archives^ no. 589.) 

^V. Reden, Aug. 8 {sup. cit.) 


after Haugwitz had corrected it, Deluc transmitted to 
Carysfort.' The concerted effort was successful. Von 
Reden was able now to satisfy the Regency that they 
should support the occupation yet a while longer. The 
English and Russian ministers might at least be expected 
to grant the Prussian monarch a respite while he faced 
the difficulty Napoleon's plans were preparing for him. 

The French had applauded the occupation of the 
Electorate, "" only to be disappointed in all the results 

' In this conversation Haugwitz, after referring to the very candid and 
friendly way in which the two men had always discussed matters, asks 
Deluc's testimony as follows: "... m'avez-vous jamais vu varier iin 
instant sur ces points fondamentales: i. Nulle relation plus intime avec 
les frangois que cette de la paix oil nous sommes avec eux et qu'il con- 
vient a la Prusse de maintenir, si elle le peut avec honneur et surete. 2. 
Relations au contraire tres intimes avec I'Angleterre, tant a course de 
ses principes que par un interet commun evident et par les liaisons de 
parentee et d'amitie. 3. Defense par la Prusse, a tout prix du Nord 
d'Allemagne et en particulier de la cote de la Mer du Nord compris [sic] 
les embouchures des rivieres depuis I'Ems, moyenants'il faut des efforts 
extraordinaires a la parte de la Prusse, secours de finance a la parte 
d'Angleterre, vu son interet sur cette cote. Vous savez que plusieurs 
[fois] j'aurais desire vous d'aller plus loin et que je Tai tente; mais que sur 
ces points je n'ai jamais varie, et que si je ne n'avoispas cru pouvoir les 
maintenir, je ne serais pas reste dans le ministere. Voici I'epoque ou 
cela devient d'une grande importance, pensez-vous qu'apres avoir con- 
stamment soutenu ce systeme je puisse en changer? et que si je n'etais 
pas sur qu'il sera soutenu ici je-voulusse en donner I'assurance?" 
Haugwitz then goes on to urge that there is no necessity of a written 
agreement between Prussia and England, the parole of the respective 
ministers being sufficient " . . . et que tout ce qui serait convenu et 
determinee de cette maniere seroit regardee comme engagement formel 
a la parte de Sa Majeste brittanique par la bouche de My Ld. Carysfort." 
This would seem to indicate that there had been no exchange of assur- 
ances between the two sovereigns since the king of Prussia's letter to 
Prince Adolphus. Lt is to that letter that the king and Haugwitz refer 
later in the same report of Deluc, as a basis for the confidence which they 
expect from England. 

^ Napoleon spoke of it as an act worthy the successor of the great 
Frederick. Lucchesini (undated), in R. XI, 89 Frankreich, Lucchesini, 


flowing from it. English commerce went on undis- 
turbed by the Prussian troops at the mouths of the 
Elbe, Weser and Ems/ The flimsiness of the Maritime 
League and the pseudo-hostility against a power whose 
representative never left Berlin, could not but have been 
plain to Napoleon. Suspicion that Prussia was playing 
a double game in its attitude toward England ^ was con- 

1801, Vol. II. {Berlin Archives) . May 12, v. Reden reports that Duroc 
thanked King Frederick William III. in behalf of Napoleon for the oc- 
cupation, but the king abruptly broke off the conversation. {No. S89, 
Hanover Archives) . 

* There are several assurances to Lusi that nothing is being done to 
interfere with English commerce. 

In the volumes marked Rep. XI, 140 C. 1, is a copy of an order to the 
Prussian generals to let all commerce go on undisturbed and to treat 
with consideration English war ships that may be wrecked on the coast 
but to report such cases that orders shaped with a view to political cir 
cumstances may be issued. They are warned to strictest secrecy as to 
these orders. They are enclosed with a communication of Col. Zas- 
trow's dated April 23, 1801. The instability of the Maritime League is 
evident when one considers the character of its founder, the unwilling- 
ness with which Sweden and Denmark were brought into it, the variant 
view Prussia had of her duties as a member and her general disinclina- 
tion to serve Russia's and France's plans on Malta. The whole Napo- 
leonic hope, of making commerce manoeuvre like a regiment in 1801, 
and later in the Continental system, is nowhere more keenly criticized 
than in the despatch of Lord Minto from Vienna, March i, 1801 {Eng- 
lish Record Office), commenting on the Maritime League: *'.... the 
attempt to seclude one of the greatest and most extensive Empires on 
the Globe, I mean that of His Majesty from the fellowship and even 
acquaintance of Europe will be found one of those idle and chimerical 
projects which are conceived by Vanity during the intoxication of Suc- 
cess and will prove as impossible to be realized as it is unfit to be so. 
The mutual wants of nations will break these unnatural and momentary 
fetters. The trade of England and the necessities of the Continent will 
find each other out in defiance of prohibitions and in spite of Fleets, 
Armies and Confederacies. Not one of these Confederates, whether 
voluntary or compelled, whether Principals or accessories will be true to 
the Gang and I have very little doubt of our trade penetrating into 
France herself and thriving at Paris." 

^Lucchesini, May 25, 1801. Bailleu, ii, 44-45« 


firmed by the conditions under which Prussia had said 
she would accept Hanover as her indemnity/ August 17, 
the demand already referred to,"" that Hanover should be 
turned over to France, was presented in Berlin by 
Beurnonville.3 Weak as was Prussia from the military 
point of view, Haugwitz preferred to risk the results of 
Napoleon's anger rather than embroil himself with Eng- 
land, Russia and Austria by such a disloyal act/ Haug- 
witz, of whom an arch-enemy said that as a school-boy 
he had acquired the habit of lying so that he had never 
been cured, ^ blandly pointed out to Beurnonville that 
Prussia, which still firmly adhered to the principles of 
the Maritime League,^ must have some pledge by which 
to guarantee its commerce against English excesses. 
Other plausible excuses were added, but they did not 
conceal the fact that the last of the Northern powers 
which six months before were in seeming co-operation 
with Napoleon's plan had decidedly withdrawn itself 
from French domination/ 

^Instructions to Lucchesini, July 10. In Bailleu, ii, 50-51. 

* Printed in Bailleu, ii, 52. 

'Haugwitz tells Carysfort, reported in C.'s dispatch of Aug. 27 and 
von Reden's of Sept. 3 {Han. Archives) , Lucchesini's despatch of Sept. 
-9, 1801, suggests as an explanation of Napoleon's desire to get hold of 
Hanover (i) the need of contributions in view of the exhaustion of Italy, 
the resistance of Holland and Switzerland and his arrears in paying 
French troops; (2) the loss of Egypt, the dissolution of the Maritime 
League and the failure of the plan to invade England left this the only 
mode of reaching England and forcing her to peace. Bailleu, ii, pp. 58-59. 

* Memoir of Haugwitz, dated Aug. 21. Bailleu, ii, 53. 

'Simon Woronzow. Cf. Das Archiv des Fursten Woronzow (Mos- 
cow, 1870-1884), vol. X, p. 190. Cf., also, p. 178. 

* See Carysfort, Aug. 8, Despatch no. 71. 

'Beurnonville to Talleyrand, Aug. 24. Bailleu, ii, 55-57. Haugwitz 
expected Napoleon to proceed to war measures as a result of Prussia's 
refusal. See Deluc's report of interview with Haugwitz enclosed with 
Carysfort's dispatch, no. 73, August 8, 1801. {English Record Office.^ 


The successful issue of the French-English negotia- 
tions in London brought to an end this complication of 
Hanoverian-Prussian interests/ October i, 1801, M. 
Otto signed in behalf of France the preliminaries of a 
truce, whose terms were fixed at Amiens the following 
year. After waiting a short time, in order that the 

'This is passing over two months during which the suspicions and 
bickerings due to the continued occupation and the support of the troops 
continue between the Regency and von Dohm. England again rejected 
any idea of subsidy when Prussia refused to bind herself by any sort of 
written agreement. (Instructions to Carysfort, Sept. 22.) Carysfort 
supported the Hanoverian demands that the burden of expense be light- 
ened. See Carysfort's and von Dohm's dispatches during Sept. and 
Oct., in English Record Office and Hanover Archives respectively. 
Napoleon did not cease his urging that Hanover be turned over to him. 

See P. S. to Carysfort's despatch of Sept. 22, 1801. In December, 
Talleyrand had another scheme for including it in the indemnity fund 
assigned to Prussia. Then Prussia, by an exchange of Hanover for 
Mecklenburg, was to be removed from proximity to the French in the 
lower Rhine region. Cf. Bailleu, ii, 63. Austria and Russia kept up 
their interest in the fate of Hanover, as is attested by their agreement 
on the outline of a plan for indemnity proposed by Russia and approved 
by Austria. The part of the note referring to Hanover reads: "Tertio, 
Fixer d'apres le meme principe le lot de la Prusse sans qu'elle puisse en 
aucun Cas obtenir comme dedommagement TElectorat d'Hannovre le 
danger d'une semblable possession entre les mains du Roi de Prusse est 
aise a sentir. Ce seroit attenter de la maniere la plus arbitraire a I'expence 
de la Constitution Germanique, en s'emparant de toute une Souverainete 
qui en fait une partie integrante, outre que la richesse effective et ses 
moyens de puissances reels et relatifs ne sont en aucun proportion avec 
les pertes de la Cour de Berlin. Ce seroit rester en guerre avec une 
grande Puissance dont le concours pent influer sur les negociations des 
Puissances continentales . 

See von Reden's dispatch, October 2"], no. 589 {Hanover). Des- 
patches of October i and 13, referred to as important in this connection, 
were not found. On October 16, Carysfort was instructed to bring the 
Prussians to action by concerting with Baron Kriidener a joint official 
note demanding, in the name of the Czar and of the king of Great Bri- 
tain, the evacuation of Hanover. This was never done, as the action 
of Prussia rendered it unnecessary. Cf. Casamajor's dispatch, no. i, 
October 28, 1801. {Eng, Rec. Off,) 

703 ] PR U SSI AN O ecu PA TION OF HA NO VER 265 

French might not be strengthened in their suspicion 
that the occupation was due to an English-Prussian 
agreement, the Prussian troops were withdrawn from 
the Electorate (Nov. 6), and amid indescribable public 
rejoicing the Hanoverian troops returned to occupy 
their posts/ After seven months of nominal suspension 
the Regency took up its normal functions and the con- 
nection with the minister and king in London was 
officially resumed. 

As an international episode the Prussian occupation of 
Hanover was ended with the parting exchange of civili- 
ties between General Kleist and the Regency, but its 
effects survived in the relations between the states they 
represented. If the treaty of Luneville had not ended all 
reason for continuing the Neutrality System, the Prus- 
sian occupation at least, had made it impossible. The 
confidence of the smaller states was weakened,' Han- 
over was embittered, suspicious ^ and burdened with 

^Hamburg Staats, und Gelehrte, Zeitungy Dec. 4, 1801. 
'Lucchesini, Hist, of the Confederation of the Rhine , p. no. 

It has been pointed out that frequently, after the English-Prussian 
reconciliation, Haugwitz declared that the evacuation of Hanover woukJ 
take place if the King of England desired it. Now unless Deluc was 
made the medium of communication between George III. and Frederick 
William III., without the knowledge of either the English and Han- 
overian ministers, the king of Prussia on the basis of what the envoys 
of both governments of the king of England presented, could have had 
no doubt that George III. desired the evacuation. From the date of 
von Lenthe's note of June 17, Des. XI, no. 70, when directly and in 
the strongest language he demanded the evacuation in the king's 
name, until November, von Reden and Carysfort were acting under 
instructions to secure the evacuation at the earliest possible moment, or 
some guarantee of the Electorate's independence if it were to continue. 
But once in that whole period (August) do they relax their efforts, and 
that is when they are personally convinced of the danger from France 
if Prussia withdraws. By September i, both are again active along the 
fines laid down by their instructions. Neither government, certainly 


debt/ The Hanoverian contingent had been furloughed, so 
that with the withdrawal of the Prussian troops the Obser- 
vation Army was practically dissolved. The Electorate 
had again been the victim of its connection with Eng- 
land, and the provincial estates were not slow in show- 
ing their discontent and the particularistic spirit which 
was too often substituted by them for patriotism.* 
Most serious of all, Prussia had discovered her weakness 
to the world.3 The fact that a Prussian occupation of 
Hanover had maintained the neutrality of the Electorate 

not the English, ever betrays by its instructions the least belief in the 
French danger. Haugwitz writing later of this period says he knows 
from the worthy Deluc, the confidant of the king and queen of Eng- 
land, that they were very thankful that Prussia had taken Hanover 
under its protection. But such sentiments, if ever expressed by King 
George, can in no way be interpreted as an approval of the continued 
Prussian occupation. Ranke, Works, vol. 47, p. 292. Of this use of 
Deluc as a private messenger of George III.'s, neither the English 
Record Office nor the king's correspondence in the British Museum 
{MSS. Dept.) show any trace. 

^The occupation cost Hanover about j8o,ooo rixdalers per month 
frorri May to September inclusive. To this should be added the cost of 
13,000 troops quartered in private families at 6 gros. per month. See 
V. Mtinster's memorial of Dec. 16/4, 1801, ivi. Cal. Br. Des. 24. Russia 
127 {Hanover) . 

'Certain provinces voted supplies only after they had learned what the 
others had done. Celle and Luneburg refused to continue **weil die 
Besitznahme der Kurlande eine bloss England betreffende Differenz 
zum Grunde habe und von Seiten hiesiger Lande als eine Personal- 
Sache des allerhochsten Landesherrn anzusehen sei ; mithin billiger 
Weise keine Hannoveraner, ein Beytrag abgefordert diirfe." Bremen 
and Verden advanced their share of the amount demanded by the Prus- 
sians as a loan. Hoya protested but borrowed enough to meet its 
assigned share. Cf. National Zeitung der Teutschen, June 4, 1801. 

*It is well to remind the reader, however, that the period just sketched 
is the best possible example "der Politik des Durchwindens." Haug- 
witz looked back on it with pride when he thought that amid all the 
difficulties he had yet been successful in securing Prussia an ample 
indemnity. Ranke, Works, vol. 47, 292. 


by saving it from a French invasion, was not the impres- 
sion that had been made on the Europe of 1801. Diplo- 
mats talked openly of other motives not so honorable; 
they saw Prussia as the tool of Russia and France laying 
hands on the supporting column of its own policy since 
the treaty of Basel/ After having advertised to the 
world for six years that Hanover ought not to be treated 
as an English continental possession, Prussia had been 
compelled to occupy the Electorate because Paul I. and 
Napoleon wished to punish England. She had continued 
that occupation long after the circumstances producing 
it had ceased to exist. Prussia had meanwhile solicited 
a large indemnity at the hands of the powers whose man- 
dates it had obeyed. These are the facts as the Europe 
of that day saw them, and Prussia, her king and his min- 
isters were judged accordingly. No wonder that the 
whole matter had left in the mind of the Prussian king 
a pronounced aversion to further interference in Han- 
overian affairs. Conscious of his own good intentions, 
and ever holding in mind the pledges he had made to 
Prince Adolphus, he experienced the deepest chagrin at 
seeing his motives aspersed. It was with tears in his 
eyes that he consented to the occupation, but the deep- 
est humiliation had come when he found that Austria, 
England and Hanover itself regarded his self-sacrificing 
act as the result of an insatiable greed for territory. 

' Carysfort among others, pointed this out to Haugwitz. See his 
despatch of July 8. King Frederick William in 1803 admitted that his 
occupation in 1801 had furnished the French with the precedent they 
needed to excuse their own occupation of Hanover. Ballieu, ii, 160, 
161. Hardenberg's words {Denkwurdigkeiten , ii, 13) in referring, 
evidently, to the events of a later period, are even more true of 1801 : 
"Wir zerstorten bei der ersten Anforderung unser eignes mit so viel 
Miihe und Kosten aufgerichtetes Werk und mit ihm fiel das ganze 
schone System." 


But here we are suggesting a line of thought that leads 
to the serious events of 1803, when all the powers whom 
we have seen so active in Hanover's behalf stood by in 
irresolution or indifference, while Napoleon drew the 
timid and wavering Electorate into his net. We may, 
then, properly view the Prussian occupation of 180 1, as 
the prelude to the French occupation of June, 1803, 
which itself brought such disaster upon Europe. It is 
in the story of this final catastrophe that the account of 
Hanoverian-Prussian relations between 1795 and 1803 
will find its fitting conclusion. 


Haugwitz's memoirs published in Brans Minerva^ 
1837, ^^^ separately as Fragment des Memoirs du Co7nte 
Haugwitz, contains the following account of the occu- 
pation of 1801. The extract below includes pp. 55-57: 

"Voici le fait, tel qu'il peut etre garanti aujourd'hui encore par les 
personnes les plus respectables. Le Prince Adolphe d'Angleterre et le 
Due de Bronsvic se trouvaient a Potsdam ; le Cte Haugwitz y fut, 
lorsqu'un matin le Baron Kriidener, ministre de la Russie, s'annonce 
chez lui a I'aube du jour. 

** Pardon, dit-il, en entrant chez le Ministre, je n'ignore pas que 
j'agis contre I'etiquette etablie en me presentant a vous pendant que le 
Roi est en retraite ; mais soyez mon juge. II lui communiqua alors una 
lettre autographe de I'Empereur Paul. Elle contenait une proposition 
des plus pressantes, pour engager la Prusse a occuper le pays d'Hanovre 
et meme sans le moindre delai. Paul declara qu'il etait pret a lui en 
garantir la possession. Le courrier qui dcvait apporter la reponse, 
deciderait des mesures, auxquelles la Russie et la France reunies se 
porteraient, pour disposer des possessions allemandes du Roi d'Angle- 

**Le Cte de Haugwitz logeait a Tauberge. Se trouvant sur un pied 
de confiance avec M. de Kriidener, il lui montra les deux portes op- 
posees de son salon. Vous etes plus pres que vous ne pensez Mr. 
I'envoye, pour traiter vous meme I'objet qui vous amene. Voici la 
porte qui conduit a I'appartement de S. A. R. le prince Adolphe 
d'Angleterre et cette autre est I'entree de celui de Due de Bronsvic. 
Choisissez! C'etait bon pour la plaisanterie mais le cas etait grave et le 
ministre se rendit sur le champ chez le Roi. On consulta, et apres 
avoir informe les deux Princes dont on vient de parler, de la proposi- 
tion faite par I'Empereur Paul il fut decide, que les troupes sous les 
ordres du Due de Bronsvic, iraient prendre possession du pays d'Han- 
ovre. Cet acte fut precede et accompagne de procedes, qui ont ete de 
leur tems apprecies par I'auguste chef de la maison d'Hanovre et par 
toutes les personnes de sa famille, qui ont ete dans le cas d'en connaitre 
les circonstances. 

707] 269 


" Le Cte de Haugwitz, peu sensible aux diatribes que langaient centre 
lui les gazettiers de Londres, I'etait d'autant moins qu'il avait pres de 
lui un sur garant des sentiments personnels de L. L. M. M. Britan- 
niques, une circonstance qui n'a plus besoin d'etre voilee dans le morn- 
ing cronicle. La voici : 

"Peu apres Tavenement au trone du Roi de Prusse actuellement 
regnant, s'annonca chez le Comte Haugwitz M. DeLuc, lecteur de la 
Reine d'Angelterre. II etait porteur d'une lettre de la Reine pour sa 
niece la Reine de Prusse et d'une autre de Lord Grenville pour le 
Ministre. Le but de cette mission entretenue pendant pres de dix ans 
fut de nourrir les relations intimes personnelles entre ces augustes 
personnages par les moyens d'une personne qu'elles honoraient de leur 
estime et de leur confiance. 

" En se servant pour cet effet [de] M. DeLuc (voyez la correspondance 
avec le Due de Bronsvic) on n'aurait pu faire un meilleur choix. Une 
dispute litteraire qu'il entretenait tout expres avec quelques hommes de 
lettres a Berlin, pour couvrir sa mission le consolait en meme terns 
quand, comme il aimait a s'exprimer, les affaires n'aboutissaient pas a 
leur fin. On congoit sans peine que ce fut par son venerable ami que 
Haugwitz transmit a leur L. L. M. M. Britanniques I'avis et les cir- 
constances, qui allaient accompagner I'occupation de leur patrimonie. 
Du reste on avait su rendre en general cette demarche qui ne pouvait 
que causer de la peine aux Princes de la Maison de Bronsvic, aussi peu 
acerbe, en autant au moins que les circonstances le permettaient. 

"Mais Haugwitz avait fourni a des gazettiers de Londres, qui a tort 
peut-etre se nommaient ministeriels, un autre motif pour s'acharner 
centre ce qu'ils appellaient sa politique." •• 

Since his entry into the ministry, Haugwitz says he had supported 
the principles of the Armed Neutrality "Mais des ce moment John 
Bull ne tenait plus de mesure." The English accused Haugwitz of 
venality "ou telle autre gentillesse semblable." 


The French Occupation of Hanover in 1803 

It is seldom that any great national policy is blocked 
out and developed along lines and toward ends clearly 
realized from the beginning. World politics have given 
us but few Richelieus. The history of the programs of 
cabinets and rulers through any period of time, is an 
account of the growth of certain germ ideas distinctly 
modified, sometimes transformed, by circumstances. In 
a large degree this is true of that Prussian policy we 
have called the Neutrality System. Unable through the 
inefficiency of its financial system to realize on its re- 
sources, the Prussian state was brought by the expendi- 
tures of the Seven Years War of Frederick William II., 
(1787-95) to the verge of bankruptcy. The necessity of 
protecting its interests in Poland had further inclined it 
toward that conciliation with France in the Rhine region 
which the withdrawal of English subsidies made almost 
unavoidable. The idea of standing forth as the peace- 
maker if not of Europe, at least of the Empire, had, like 
a will-o-the-wisp, led the Prussian king to abandon his 
crusade and to make peace with the regicides on the Seine. 
The tentatives of Basel failing, the exigencies of securing 
neutrality and assured position in at least its own neigh- 
borhood, had led Prussia to the treaty of August 5, 
1796, which, while it recognized her hegemony in North 
Germany, drew her farther along the road of territorial 
709] 271 


development through indemnification/ But as the se- 
curity of her neutrality towards the East and the West 
depended on Russia and France respectively, so in seek- 
ing further her own interests amid the dissolution of the 
old Empire, she found herself obliged to court the favor 
of France and Russia in order to get the large indemnity 
she sought. This combination of fear and favor-seeking 
had drawn her into a maritime union with Russia from 
which she was freed only after she had been forced un- 
expectedly into measures hostile to the province whose 
hearty co-operation meant so much for Prussian leader- 
ship. Obliged by the change of circumstances to stifle 
whatever hopes of territorial gain the temporary occupa- 
tion of Hanover may have aroused, Prussia was inevi- 
tably drawn in 1802 more and more toward the power 
which was dispensing German bishoprics to the hungry 
horde of German princes gathered at Paris. ^ 

^Prof. Seeley, in his Life and Times of Stein ^ pt. 2, chap, iv, gives a 
review of the period of neutrality and of the effects of the French occu- 
pation of Hanover in 1803. For the views of the chief exponent of the 
system, the reader is again referred to Haugwitz's expose published by 
Ranke in his Complete Works, vol. xlvii, p. 303 ff. After mentioning 
some of the advantages and disadvantages of neutrality, Haugwitz says: 
** Les liens qui reunissaient la Saxe, le Hanovre, la Hesse et les autres 
princes dont les etats se trouvaient a I'abri de la ligne de demarcation 
se basaient sur le surete et I'interet commun. Revenu de ces fausses 
idees dont autrefois on avait farci les tetes, de ces idees extravagantes, 
pretendue dignite et de gloire, I'aigle prussien couvrait de ses ailes ses 
etats voisins sans charger le sien du poids de ses efforts. Ce fut alors 
qu'il remplissait sa haute destinee." 

'After making due allowance for his point of view, there still remains 
a great deal of truth in the despatches of Mr. Jackson, the English am- 
bassador, in which he points out how Prussia's weakness in 1801 and 
desire for indemnity in 1802 had brought her under French dominance. 
See, e. g., despatch of Mr. Jackson, Nov. 26, 1802, and his private let- 
ter to Lord Hawkesbury, Nov. 25, 1802 {English Record Office), for 
pictures of Prussia's humiliation. 


Of all the German powers seeking recompense for 
their losses in the French appropriation of the left bank 
of the Rhine, none sought that indemnity more singly 
at French hands than Prussia.' While desiring to placate 
Russia,* it was with France that they settled their ac- 
count and received by the treaty of May 23, 1802, a rich 
return for their lost provinces. With exultant joy the 
Prussian king, cabinet and public hailed the diplomacy 
of Lucchesini,^ their envoy in Paris, whose successful 
negotiations had given them the ecclesiastical states of 
Hildesheim and Quedlinburg and the cities of Nord- 
hausen, Miihlhausen and Goslar in Lower Saxony and 
in Westphalia, besides several municipalities, and the 
greater part of Miinster and Paderborn."^ 

There was, however, a reverse side to this successful 
activity of Prussia during the years 1800-1802 when 
Europe was, for the first time during a decade, enjoying 
a brief period of general peace; and that reverse side 
was turned toward the second member of the two pow- 
ers whose relations we are following. The bitterness 
and suspicion aroused by the Prussian occupation of 
1 80 1 was increased in Hanover by the success of the 
Prussians in securing Hildesheim as part of their indem- 
nity; for Hanover, though it had not lost an acre or a 
shadow of a claim to territory on the further bank of the 

'Instructions from Berlin to Lucchesini in Paris, Nov. 16, 1801. 
Bailleu, ii, 61. Beurnonville to Napoleon, Jan. 19, 1802. Bailleu, ii, 
72-73. On the failure of the Prussian-Austrian indemnity negotiations, 
see A. Beer, in Archiv fur osterr. Gesch., vol. lii, 475 fif. 

* Lombard to Lucchesini, March 5, 1802. Bailleu, ii, y6. 
'Bailleu, ii, loo-ioi, 103. 

* C/. copy of treaty in DeClerq, i, 583-587, or the summary in Beer's 
article, szip. cit., 516. 


Rhine, ^ had resolved to grab while France and Russia 
were holding the bag open. The prizes they sought 
were, in part, the same principalities that Prussia had 
selected, namely, Hildesheim and Osnabriick, the latter 
a bishopric in which the Hanoverian-Brunswick line 
already exercised, in alternation with the cathedral 
chapter, the right to select the ruling bishop ; thus the 
Elector and Regency were inclined to regard Osnabriick 
as practically a Hanoverian possession. That all the 
Hanoverian plans for territorial increase and their efforts 
at Regensburg, Berlin and St. Petersburg came to 
naught, is to be attributed to the success of Prussia in 
gaining Napoleon for its plans. How extensive those 
plans were, the Hanoverians could only guess, but there 
was small comfort in surmises based on the fact that 
Hildesheim, while it did not round out Prussian terri- 
tory, did bring Prussia within a few miles of the Elect- 
orate's capital. Thus advantageously situated, Prussia 
could hopefully await any opportunity to increase still 
further its dominance over its neighbor.'' 

It would scarce profit us in the present discussion to 
attempt to summarize the ins and outs of the subject of 
indemnity through secularization as it is revealed in the 
archival material in Hanover, London and Berlin. A 
drearier subject, and one more unrefreshing in all its 

^ Mr. Garlike, the English charge-d'affaires in Berlin, gives in his 
no. 13, March 8, 1802, a complete table of the estimated losses in square 
miles, inhabitants and revenue of z^ temporal powers of the empire, 13^ 
ecclesiastical princes and 4 immediate seigneuries. {^English Record 

'^Cf. V. Lenthe's defense in Zeit. des hist. Vereins fur Niedersachsetiy 
1856, 159. More emphatic are the memorials of Capt. Decken, Jan. 26, 
and of the Regency (Rudloff), March 16, 1803. Hanover Archives^ 
Des. 9, Hildesheun, no. 162. That this was Haugwitz's intention is 
shown by his memorial of Feb. 20, 1801. See Bailleu, ii, 27. 


endless details, could hardly be conceived.* Hanover, 
supported by Saxony, at first sought to maintain the 
Empire under its old constitution and with the old ter- 
ritorial decentralization, but as the scheme of indemnity, 
in some form or other, became inevitable, the Hanover- 
ian government entered the struggle for plunder." From 
the first it sav^ in Prussia its natural rival in the areas 
the Regency sought to acquire. ^ Not only that, but, as 
vi^e have seen, the suspicion that the Electorate itself 
might be drawn into Prussia's net was fully voiced at 
Hanover and in London. *♦ 

The Regency, in order to avoid arousing any sus- 
picions in France, had hastened to approve the treaty 
concluded at Luneville by the Emperor in the name of 
the Empire. 5 But their efforts to have the indemnities 
which had been approved in that treaty settled by the 
Imperial Diet in Regensburg were vain.^ And as they 

^Havemann, Gesch. Hanover, vol. iii, gives a brief summary of Han- 
over's interests. 

^See King George's note verhale of May, 1797, in Cal. Br. Des. 11, 
E. I, no. 1128. In no. 1183 (see below) is an interesting letter from 
King George (v. Lenthe), Jan. 15, 1802, acknowledging that he has no 
interest in preserving the archbishoprics of Trier, Mainz and Cologne. 

'See Regency to Wallmoden, as early as April 19, 1795. 

* Their suspicions were active after April, 1797, when they learned the 
secret provisions of the treaty of Aug. 5, 1796. Von Reden gave these 
suspicions frequent expression in 1801. See, for example, his despatch 
of Aug. 8, 1801, in no. 1183. When convinced that King Frederick 
William III. had no intentions on Hanover, he hoped that nothing 
"den hiesigen raubgierigen Rathgebern Gelegenheit geben moge Ver- 
anderungen in diesem System hervorzubringen." During the struggle 
for Hildesheim, Prussia, in replying to Hanover's claims, handed in a 
memoire at St. Petersburg, saying that on the same basis Prussia could 
lay claim to Hanover. This was not forgotten in the crisis of 1803. 
Ompteda to the Regency, May 31, 1803, no. 600 [Hanover) . 

•^Regency to king, March 8, 1801. Cal. Br. Des. XI, E. I, No. 1182, 

'See, e. g., Regency to King George, March 26, 1801. Cal. Br. Des, 


were not allowed by King George to send a representa- 
tive to Paris, the Regency sought to gain Russia for 
their plans. Fortunately Hanover had at St. Petersburg 
an able representative, Count Miinster,^ who had been 
there since the coronation of Alexander I."" If St. 
Petersburg, rather than Paris, had been the clearing 
house in which indemnity claims were equated, Miinster, 
with his able memoires and protests, might have hoped 
to efifect something against Prussia's intentions on Hilde- 
sheim.3 As it was, no hand was raised to prevent the 
execution of the French-Prussian treaty of May 23, 1802, 
and the Prussian troops with General Schulenburg- 
Kehnert at their head occupied, during the summer of 
1802, the provinces and municipalities assigned to Prus- 
sia. Hanover, with no definite support for its plans,* 

XI, E. I, no. 1183. The action taken in Regensburg was strikingly 
like the instructions sent von Ompteda. Cf. Regencj^ to king, May 14, 
1801, no. 1183. 

'On Miinster see article by Ulmann in Hist. Zeit., 1868. Both 
Ulmann and the article in the Allg. Deutsche Biog. pass over Miins- 
ter's career before 1809 too lightly. 

*On Miinster's mission in St. Petersburg from Dec. i, 1801, to 1804, 
see Hannover, Des. 91, no. 6; Cat. Br. Des. 24, Russia, 127 and 
131a, and no. 1183 sup. cit., and material cited below. The real object 
of his mission was this subject of securing Hildesheim. 

'King George wrote a personal letter to the Czar. See von Lenthe's 
despatch of Oct. 12, 1801, and the outline of Russia's answer in Miins- 
ter's despatch of Dec. 22/10, 1801, in no. 1183. This despatch as well 
as others shows Russia's desire to curb Prussia's demands and see, 
"dass endlich das System von Unterdriickung und Beraubung kleiner 
Staate ein Ende nehme." 

* Count Miinster writes February 15/3, 1802: "Wass kann man von 
Russland fordern wenn dieses sieht, dass das Englische Ministerium 
sich nicht fiir den Konig interessiren will?" Hanover, Des. 92, no. 
V. Bd. 2. Conditions in St. Petersburg and at the court are sketched 
in an interesting letter of Miinster's April 2/March 21, 1802, in this 
package. V. Lenthe attempted some correspondence with the French 
government but received no encouragement. See his letters of May 20 
and June 29, 1802. 


had to content itself with acquiring the bishopric of 
Osnabriick' which they vainly sought to exchange for 
the bishopric of Hildesheim.' With extreme blindness to 
matters really important, the Regency engaged in these 
tiresome and petty affairs while a storm was gathering, 
even breaking over their defenceless heads — we mean the 
French occupation of 1803, '*^" event whose significance 
is not the result of a passing interest of a momentary or 
local character, but is an event closely connected with 
the great occurrences of that time, and forms in more 
than one regard, a turning point " in the events that lead 
to the catastrophe of 1806 and the fall of the Napoleonic 
Empire. 3 

While Germany was thus being re-arranged for the 
benefit of the stronger states, England and France were 
hurrying on toward the outbreak of that great struggle 
which ended only at Waterloo. The treaty of Amiens 
(March 25, 1802) had given both a breathing spell, but 
nothing more. Of the points left undecided in the 
treaty, the possession of the island of Malta was the 
most irritating. England refused to withdraw from the 
island despite Napoleon's demands, and replied to his 
reproaches by pointing to French aggression in Italy 
and Switzerland.'* The inevitable drew on. Each power 
saw the breach coming and sought by elaborate pro- 
posals and counterproposals to brand the other as the 

'In March, 1800, Hanoverian troops occupied Hildesheim, but the 
arrangements after the treaty of Luneville made its retention impos- 
sible. See Hassell, Das Kurfurstenthum Hannover, p. 28. 

^Hassell, sup. cit., 51 ff. 

^ See these views in Hausser's essay : Zur Geschichte des Jahres 1803. 
in Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, vol. iii, 239 fif. 

*On the events of these years, see any standard history of the period, 
e. g,, Ranke, Hardenberg, i, 453 fT. 


disturber of Europe's peace. On March 8, King George's 
message to Parliament asking that body, in view of cer- 
tain hostile French movements, to appropriate funds for 
the national defense, warned Europe that the hour of 
peace had struck/ And yet the giants hesitated. Did 
they feel it was to be a death-grapple ? For two months 
more England's representative, Lord Whitworth, re- 
mained in Paris.' 

Here again we must leave the larger field to notice 
one of the inevitable results of the great world-struggle 
on which England was entering. The purpose of this 
chapter is to tell briefly the story of the diplomatic pre- 
liminaries to the French occupation of Hanover in 1803. 
As this monograph is chiefly interested in those events 
and policies where Prussian action affected or deter- 
mined Hanoverian history,^ this interest will furnish the 

^French translation of the message in Thiers, Hist, du Consulat et 
de V Empire, iv, 308-309. 

'C/. O. Browning, England and Napoleon in 1803 , being the Des- 
patches of Lord Whitworth and Others (London, 1887). 

' The subject of the French occupation has already produced a con- 
siderable literature. At the time, it brought on a pamphlet war — 
attacks on those held responsible for the disaster and their defences. 
These pamphlets, of which Columbia University has a considerable col- 
lection, are catalogued and reviewed in the Jendische Allgenteine 
Zeitung, Feb. -May, 1806. The defence of von Lenthe, the Hanoverian 
Minister in London, was not printed until 1856 in the Zeit. des Vereins 
fiir niedersachsische Gesch. The whole subject is treated at length in 
F. V. Ompteda's Die Ueberwaltigung Hannovers durch die Franzosen, 
Hanover, 1862. 362 pp. Ompteda has made excellent use of archival 
material, much of which he has quoted or printed in appendices. Most 
of the material used by Ompteda is in Cal. Br. Des. 11, E. /., no. 
1198, and Cal. Br. Des. 24, Brandenberg-Preussen, nos. 600 and 601. 
For Duroc's mission, see also Hanover, Des. 92, XXXVII A. no. 11, 
B., 2. Miinster's reports from St. Petersburg are in Cal. Br. Arch. 
Des. 24, Russia, nos. 127, 128, 131a and 134a, and Hannover, Des. 91^ 
Nr. 6 and 7, and Des. 92, Nr. V. B., 2. Having tested Ompteda's 
accuracy in transcribing from these documents, I feel at liberty to refer 


criterion in treating Prussia's relations with other 
European powers. 

On March 20, a hurrying courier dashed into Berlin 
bearing a message of warning from Lucchesini, the 
Prussian ambassador in Paris. Duroc, a trusted aid of 
Napoleon, was coming as special messenger to the king 
of Prussia.' The message of King George to Parliament, 

frequently to his book, rather than to the inaccessible archival material. 
The quotation on page 23 of Ompteda is one of the very few cases in 
which I found him using quotation marks while giving in his own 
language the sense of a despatch. Dr. Bailleu in his introduction to 
Volume 29 of the Publicationen aus den Kgl. Preussischen Archiven 
(referred to as Bailleu, ii.) has given an excellent account from the 
standpoint of French-Prussian interests, and has selected and printed 
the most important communications between Paris and Berlin touching 
the subject. Hausser's twenty-page study in the Forschungen zur 
deutsch. Gesch.y vol. iii has already been mentioned. Hassell, Das 
Kurfurstenthuni Hannover vom Baseler Frieden bis zur preuss. Oc- 
cupation im Jahre, 1806. (Hanover, 1894) in pp. 168-325, wanders over 
the subject with the help of Ompteda's book. As I have not taken 
space to review Hassell's book on the topics covered by his work and 
this monograph, I must leave the reader to get an idea of Hassell's 
method and accuracy from the reviews of his work. See Hist. Zeit., 
1895, pp. 126-128, Jahresberichte, etc. (1894), ii, 257. Mitt. a. d. Hist. 
Litteratur (1897), vol. 25, 336. For the Russian phase, the reader will 
perceive I am indebted to the notes in F. M^sitns, RecueildesTraitSs 
conclus par la Russie, vol. vi. These I have supplemented and in 
some cases corrected by a personal examination of the despatches of the 
Prussian ministry to Count Goltz, then representative in St. Peters- 
burg, and by other material in the Berlin Archives, in the two fascicles 
designated Rep. XI, Russland, 152 A, and 152 B. The despatches to 
and from Mr. Jackson, English ambassador in Berlin, Mr. Paget, 
ambassador in Vienna, and Sir John Warren in St. Petersburg in the 
English Record Office contain some supplementary material of value. 
From the Russian-Prussian side, Dr. H. Ulmann's Russisch-Preus- 
sische Politik unter Alexander I. und Friedrich Wilhelm HI. bis 1806 
(Leipzig, 1899), furnishes more light than any other treatment for the 
correct interpretation of Russian-Prussian relations in 1803. Pub. aus 
den Kgl. Preuss. Archiven, vol. 75 (ed. Bailleu) gives the correspond- 
ence between Alexander I. and Frederick William HI. 

^For Duroc's character and activity, see Bignon, Hist, du France, 
etc., i, 70-78; ii, 3. 


the hurried conferences in Paris, the plans of Napoleon 
on Hanover, the possibility of an appeal to Prussia to 
guarantee the neutrality of Malta — on all these points 
the messenger who had braved the perils of snows and 
flooded Rhine carried the first news to Frederick Wil- 
liam III. and his cabinet/ Three hours later, the car- 
riage of the French special envoy rolled into the Prus- 
sian capital. The diplomatic world of Berlin was in a 
flutter. What did it all mean? No one knew until 
evening when other hastening messengers had brought 
the latest Hamburg and London papers containing the 
message of the English king asking Parliament to give 
him funds for the national defence. A tyro in diplomacy 
could have guessed the import of Duroc's mission now 
— it was war, and Prussia was to be asked to decide at 
once on the proposals made by Napoleon— to decide, 
Frederick William HI. to decide— hyxt what, and how? 

On April 4, the energetic envoy of the First Consul- 
was back in Paris.'' What had he accomplished in his 
fifteen days of absence? Did he bear any more definite 
message than the windy nothings in the personal letter 
of Frederick William to Napoleon? 3 His own despatches 
from Berlin (March 20-27), and Haugwitz's letters and* 
instructions to the Prussian ambassadors in London, 
Paris and St. Petersburg, tell the story of his missioa 
and of the tentatives of the embarrassed king and his 
advisers. The letter from Napoleon to King Frederick 
William and the interviews of Duroc with the king and 
Haugwitz, painted all the iniquities of England's conduct 
in not meekly accepting the interpretations which the 

^Bailleu, ii, 124-125. 

'Bailleu, ii, p. 136. 

* Letter in Bailleu, ii, 132-133. 


imperious First Consul put on the stipulations of the 
treaty of Amiens, particularly on those which concerned 
Malta. Prussia, as one of the nations whose guarantee 
of the treaty had been stipulated but never given, was 
appealed to by Napoleon as an ally, who, by acting with 
Russia, might secure the English evacuation of Malta. 
Hanover, the pawn in the international game of war, was 
to be swept into the French possession ; for the m.ouths 
of the Elbe and Weser must be closed to English com- 
merce. Thus concretely was the immediate fate of Han- 
over' and the ultimate destruction of Prussia announced 
to the dismayed statesmen in Berlin. Haugwitz mus- 
tered all the well-known arguments against French 
aggression in Northern Germany; for he saw more 
clearly than Lombard, his rival in the king's councils, 
that to allow the French to enter Hanover was the be- 
ginning of the end for Prussia, whose sole advantage 
would consist in seeing itself the last victim to be de- 
voured by the boundless ambition of Bonaparte.' The 
Prussian commerce on the Elbe and Weser and through 
the Hanseatic ports, all of it carried on largely in Prussian 
bottoms, was of incalculable advantage to France, who, 
Haugwitz argued, w^ould see these sources of supplies 
closed by the fleets of England ^ if France committed 

^The mission of Duroc was kept very quiet, but Ompteda in Berlin 
easily solved its purpose and early pointed cut that the king would 
hardly occupy Hanover in the face of the French. See his letters of 
March 22 and April 2 in Hannover, Des. 92, XXXVII A., Vol. I. 
But von Reden, who was the regular Hanoverian envoy is less clear in 
his views and more suspicious of Prussia. Cf. his reports of April 2 
and 23 in the same package. 

'F. Martens, Recueil des Traitis conclus par la Russie, vi, 310. 

'It was this commerce, a great part of it with England, that the Eng- 
lish might hope to see Prussia endeavor to protect against French oppres- 
sion. "I have M. de Struensee's authority for saying . . . that with- 


any act of aggression against Hanover. He could see 
but one guarantee for the undisturbed continuance of 
the Prussian neutral trade with France, and that was 
Prussia's ability to hold off the English attacks or in- 
demnify herself for them by seizing Hanover. To the 
larger proposition of preventing hostilities, the Prussian 
government addressed itself with feverish eagerness.^ 

The chief interest of our study is in the fate of Han- 
over, but it is now, as often before, that we turn our 
attention, not to London or Hanover, but to the events 
and policies in Berlin. It is now, as in i8oi,thatwe find, 
however, that Berlin is not, after all, the ultimate in Prus- 
sian policy. An irresolute, peace-loving king, divided 
councils, empty treasury and unprepared army are not 
in 1803 any more than in 1801, a combination that gen- 
erates the energy necessary to a strong initiative. Be- 
fore we know what Prussia will do to save Hanover 
from the French we must await, as they did in Berlin, 
the result of the Prussian representations made at Lon- 
don and St. Petersburg. Duroc was told what steps 
Prussia would take to bring England into the ways of 
peace, and with this indefinite evasion of his attempt to 
ensnare Prussia, the First Consul had to seem content.' 

out the Importations from Great Britain the manufactures here and the 
operations of the Maritime Society must very shortly come to a stand. 
Of the considerable quantity of Cotton manufactured by the Prussian 
Dominions about 4/5S are woven from British yarn. The wants of the 
Cloth Manufactories are still greater — and they have as yet received no 
supply of Colonial Produce but what has come through the Hands of 
British Merchants." Jackson's despatch of May 16. \,Eng. Record 
Office]. The English minister warned his government, however, that 
commerce and every other consideration would be sacrificed by Prussia 
rather than undertake a war against France. 

'On Duroc's mission, see his reports published in Bailleu, ii, 127-132. 

'Report of Lucchesini, April 11. Bailleu, ii, 136-137. 


The instructions that were sent by Haugvvitz to Jacobi, 
the Prussian ambassador, in London, contained a com- 
pound attempt to secure, not so much universal peace, 
for its own sake, as peace for the sake of an unmolested 
Northern Germany and an undisturbed Prussian com- 
merce on the Elbe and the Weser.' Prussia acceded at 
once to the treaty of Amiens, and offered, in conjunction 
with Russia, to assure the neutrality of Malta from which 
England was expected to withdraw. In the alternative 
of war, the instructions continued, Prussia, with its 
wealth embarked on the high seas, must have from Eng- 
land, not an unqualified acknowledgment of the princi- 
ples of the maritime neutrality of 1781, but such an 
understanding as would secure the neutral trade carried 
on in Prussian bottoms. The alternative was the seizure 
of the king's German lands, which were to be held by 
Prussia as an indemnity for her losses on the high seas; 
in other words, Prussia would again occupy Hanover. 
On that point Haugwitz at least was clear. To St. 
Petersburg, through Alopaus, the Russian ambassador 
in Berlin, and Goltz, the Prussian envoy to the Czar, an 
appeal was made for the Russian support and co-opera- 
tion without which Prussia could do nothing. What- 
ever may have been the answer expected from London, 
the Russian interest which had been so often expressed 
in the neutrality of the north of Germany, and particu- 
larly in that of the Hanseatic cities, in whose great 
banking-houses Russia and her merchants had immedi- 
ate concern, seemed to assure King Frederick William 
that Russia, "the mountain of snow," would move at his 

In London, the Prussian propositions, however, did 

'Instructions dated March 28, 1803, in R. XI, 73, England Conv,. 
177 {Berlin Archives) . 


not receive the slightest support from the Russian am- 
bassador, Woronzow, who told the astounded Jacobi 
that he had no instructions to offer a joint Russian- 
Prussian mediation ; consequently, they fell on deaf ears.'^ 
Lord Hawkesbury would only reply to the Prussian 
propositions about neutral commerce and the seizure of 
Hanover by regretful and deprecatory shrugs of the 
shoulders, and by unyielding assertions of England's 
indifference to the fate of Hanover when great principles 
of international law touching England's very existence 
were at stake. "" 

Turning from the unsolved problem of why Prussia, if 
she seriously hoped to save Hanover from the French, 
proposed her protection on terms which she knew from 
her experience in 1801, were wholly unacceptable, ^ we 

* For evidence that Woronzow and Jacobi were working at cross pur- 
poses and that Alopaus and Woronzow did not act like representatives 
of the same (Russian) government, see Jacobi's letters of May 5 and 
24, Haugwitz's of June 14, 1803, in R. XI, 73, England Conv., 73, and 
instructions to Goltz, June 2 [^Berlin Archives]. 

^Hausser, Deutsche Gesch., ii*, 447 and Forschungen zur deutschen 
Gesch., iii, 245. See expression of King George's interest in Ompteda, 
63. Some particular favors to Prussian commerce would be given but 
no general concessions. The Addington Ministry seems to have ex- 
pected that the Northern powers (Russian and Prussia?) would not 
allow the French invasion, and was surprised when the news of the 
convention of Suhlingen came. (C/. Jacobi's despatch of June 14-16, 
1803, Berlin Archives .^ Hawkesbury's reply to Jacobi leads Prussian 
historians into long denunciations of England for abandoning Hanover 
when England was to blame for the approaching catastrophe. Cf. e.g., 
Oncken, Das Zeitalter der Revolution, vol. ii, pp. 91 fiF. The reader 
will notice that the English ministers vigorously supported the Han- 
overian envoys and this, in view of the fact that there was no alliance 
between the two powers, is as much as it was possible for England to 
do since her strength was on the sea. 

'Haugwitz seems to have been in earnest in the matter, though Prus- 
sia had in 1802 forfeited English confidence (C/. Thiers, iv, 244, 255, 
256) , and the English ambassador gave Haugwitz no grounds for hope. 


come next to a consideration of the attitude and action 
of Russia. As in 1 801, so in 1803, the views at St. 
Petersburg are of prime importance. 

Since the accession of the young Czar, Alexander 1.,'^ 
Russia had, to a large extent, abandoned her attempts 
to play the game of European politics. The inexperi- 
ence of the young ruler, his pacific inclinations, the 
influence of his advisers, and the internal interests of the 
country which had been left in disorder by the vagaries 
of Paul, had combined to make Russia content for a 
time to work out her own home problems before enter- 
ing upon any attempt to control the course of events in 
Europe.'' Not even the question of Malta, about which 
Paul had personally concerned him.self, had moved his 
son to accede to the guarantee of the island's neutrality 
according to Article X. of the treaty of Amiens. But 
there was one phase of European politics between 1801 
and 1803 in which Alexander manifested, not only the 
beginnings of his interest in the peace and good order 
of Germany, but also his altruistic desire to pose as the 
protector of weaker powers. The question of indemni- 
ties in Germany was the subject in which the Czar 
sought to make his influence felt.-'' Though the seat of 

(C/. Jackson's despatch of May 16, 1803, in English Record Office). 
May 17, Haugwitz wrote a personal letter to Jacobi, suggesting that a 
very small concession to Prussian commerce would suffice. R. XI, 73, 
England Conv., 77, Berlin Archives. Cf. also Zeit. d, hist. Vereins 
fur Niedersachsen , 1856, p. 176. 

^See Bailleu's characterization of Alexander. Pub. aus den Kgl, 
Preuss. Archiven, 75, p. xiii. 

"^Cf. Bernhardi, Gesch. Russlands, 4th Bk., Chs. i and 2. Note the 
manifesto of July 1/13, 1801, {Cf. Bernhardi, as cited, p. 451). See 
Ulmann, 25, and F. Martens, Recueil, ii, 375. 

'See his correspondence with Frederick William III. in Pnblica- 
tionen aus den kgl. Preuss. Archive7i, vol. 75. 


the negotiations concerning indemnities had been re- 
moved to Paris, Russia still sought to make her influence 
effective/ In the course of these negotiations the suc- 
cessor of Paul, who had once offered Hanover to Prussia 
as an indemnity, had come to feel that Prussia's exten- 
sive claims needed to be moderated^ in order that she 
might not outweigh Austria in the Empire and thus 
become a too powerful neighbor of Russia.^ The success 
of Prussia in secretly negotiating with Napoleon for an 
area that was ''rather a conquest than an indemnity,"* 
had increased the uneasiness at St. Petersburg. The 
Czar had not only his own interests and plans to con- 
sider in the question of Prussia's indemnity, but must 
have heard the fears of such small powers as Holstein 
and Mecklenburg to whose reigning families he was 
related. On Hanover's appeal to him through Count 
Miinster he had attempted to arrange with Prussia the 
exchange of Osnabriick for Hildesheim. The repre- 
sentations of both parties had given the St. Petersburg 
cabinet a glimpse of Prussia's interests in Westphalia, 
where, by the indemnities of 1802, she was promised a 
western extent comparable to her Polish acquisitions. 
Further, the strategic importance to Prussia of Hanover 
which now, more than in 1801, was in the centre of 
Prussian possessions, must have been equally clear to 
the Russian cabinet. Nor had the Russian intercession 
in behalf of Hanover in the indemnity matter had pleas- 
ant results; for even at the interview in Memel (June, 
1802) which was to cement the fraternal relations be- 

^ Ulmann, Russisch-preussische PolUik, 2^. 

^See instructions to Kriidener, Dec. 5/17, 1801. F. Martens, sup. cit.y 
vi, 296. 

^Cf. Sbornik, 70, 193. 

*Hausser, Deutsche Gesch., ii*, 371. 


tween the two monarchs, the subject of Hanover had 
proved the Banquo's ghost of the diplomatic festivities. 
PoHtics were tabooed in the conferences between the 
sovereigns, but Kotschubey, the Russian minister, took 
occasion to present the justice of Hanover's desire to ex- 
change Osnabriick for Hildesheim. To this Lombard 
replied, supposedly in the king's name, that his Majesty 
would willingly make such an arrangement. The Prussian 
king later denied ever having authorized such a promise. 
Despite this denial, however, the Russian ambassador was 
instructed to support Hanover's plans by appealing "to the 
positive assurances made in the king's name by Lombard." 
Thus the bickering had continued until shortly before 
the crisis of March, 1803.' Nor had the confidence and 
good feeling between the two countries been increased 
by Alopaus, the Russian minister, who was decidedly 
skeptical as to Prussia's ability to embark on a policy 
of energy and force. It is evident, then, that the at- 
mosphere in St. Petersburg in the spring of 1803, de- 
spite the personal friendship of the sovereigns,^ was not 
favorable to that confidence so necessary for the Prusso- 
Russian unity, which alone could give security to the 
threatened neutrality of North Germany. 

In 1801, Frederick William III., after long delay, had 
been forced by Russia to occupy Hanover. In 1803, 
Haugwitz, who was firm in his determination to exclude 
the French from Hanover, realized that the co-operation 
of Russia was the only influence that might induce his 

' Ulmann, 40-41. 

^The divergence of Prussian and Russian policies should not be 
obscured by the relations between the King and Czar. Cf. Harden- 
berg' s Denkwurdigkeiien (ed. Ranke), ii, 40. Ulmann in his Rus- 
sisch-preussische Politik, . . . bis 1806, 31, 41-43, emphasizes this 
crossing of dynastic and state interests. 


master to save again the neutrality of North Germany. 
Coincident with the representations which Ambassador 
Jacobi made in London, Count Goltz, the Prussian am- 
bassador in St. Petersburg, was instructed to inform 
Russia of Prussia's intention to seize Hanover if England 
did not concede the maritime principles of 1781, in which 
case Prussia would find itself obliged by the war, to 
have some way of collecting from England an indemnity 
for the losses to Prussia's shipping trade.' In addition, 
Haugwitz laid before Alopaus, the Russian ambassador, 
the absolute necessity of Russia's support should Eng- 
land reject these propositions, and assured him of Prus- 
sia's earnestness in interceding for neutrality. But 
despite the apparent sincerity of Haugwitz, Alopaus felt 
that Prussian energy would exhaust itself in negotia- 
tions.'' Before a definite reply had come from St. Peters- 
burg, he was able to confirm out of Haugwitz's own 
mouth, his conclusions as to the essential weakness of 
the Prussian government. The king had vetoed Haug- 
witz's proposition to occupy the Electorate of Hanover 
before the French advanced. The king did not desire 
to be again under the suspicion so often expressed in 
1801, namely, that he then sought only selfish acquisi- 
tions in occupying Hanover. ^ Plaugwitz, though con- 

^It is noticeable that Jacobi in London was instructed to modify his 
language to suit the occasion, and he only spoke of the "protection" of 
Hanover, whereas Goltz spoke in St. Petersburg of "occupation" if 
England did not concede what every one knew she would not concede, 
so that when that concession was not made, Prussia could hold Hanover 
for losses which she alone would reckon. The attitude of the Russian 
government could hardly have been favorable to such an arrangement. 

* Alopaus to Chancellor A. Woronzow. Berlin, March 17/29, in F. 
Martens, Recueil, etc., vi, 309. 

"The effect of 1801 on the king is shown in his remark to Gen. Mql- 
lendorf : *' Bei dem verdammten Kriege womit man jetzt wieder bedrohet 


scious that the French in Hanover would be at the gates 
of Magdeburg and pushing for an alliance, was too un- 
certain of his own influence/ and held it better to re- 
nounce his project and obey the king.'' His one hope 
was that the Czar, on whose decision hung the fate of 
Europe, would come to Prussia's support, and that not 
too late. Together, they might hold off Napoleon from 
carrying war into the heart of the hitherto neutralized 
area.3 Again and again Haugwitz brought up the sub- 
ject nearest his heart and expressed the hope that Russia 
might yet render possible his plan of preventing a 
French occupation. "♦ Meanwhile, Count Goltz in St. 
Petersburg was urging before Alexander I. the cause of 
German neutrality and calling attention to the import- 
ance to Russia of the commerce of the Elbe and Weser, 
and the safety of the Hanseatic cities. The voice from 
** the mountain of snow " in the North was awaited im- 
patiently in Berlin and in Hanover. For now, as ever, 
the Electorate was seeking to guide its own course de- 
spite the inevitableness with which its weakness, political 
isolation and geographical position drew it into the 
course steered by Prussia. 

sei, werde er abermals durch ein Land in Verlegenheit gesetzt werden, 
dass sein Interesse nicht einmal verdiene, da es dasjenige was er Anno 
1801 bei dem Drange der Umstande fiir selbiges gethan mit so vielen 
Undank belohnt, und ihn noch hinterher deswegen verlaumdet habe." 
Ompteda to Rudloff, April 3, 1803. Hannover, Des. 92, XXXVH, A. 
[Han. Archives.'] 

^See his own complaints to Hardenberg at this period. Denkwurdig- 
keiten, ii, 29. 

'^On this pliability of Haugwitz's, see the view of Bray, Bavarian 
envoy, in Bailleu, ii, 623. 

'Alopaus, April 25/May 7, F. Martens, sup. cit., vi, 310. 

*F. Martens, etc., vi, 311. " Haugwitz fit I'impossible pour empecher 
que les Francais vinssent a Hanovre." Lombard, Aug. 20, 1806. 
Bailleu, ii, 615. 


If the Prussian occupation of 1801 and the haggling 
with Prussia over indemnities had prepared the soil of 
suspicion in St. Petersburg, Vienna and London/ and 
left the sensitive Prussian monarch more than ever in- 
clined to limit himself to the household economies of his 
own state, it had to a no less degree scarred and warped 
Hanoverian opinion of Prussian policy.'' Von Lenthe, 
the Hanoverian minister in London, though representing 
the extreme of anti-Prussian sentiment, probably voiced 
more than his own views, when in October, 1801, he 
expressed his gratitude to Carysfort for securing what, 
without his aid, might never have been accomplished, 
that is, the withdrawal of the Prussian troops from the 
Electorate. The insistence of Prussia on the bishopric 
of Hildesheim as part of its indemnity, had, as already 
remarked, particularly aroused political and military 
circles in Hanover; for Hildesheim, while it did not 
round out Prussian territory, did bring the Prussian 
boundary within striking distance of the Hanoverian 
capital, and rendered it easy for Prussia to cut off the 
southern principalities of Gottingen and Grubenhagen.^ 

The efforts of the Regency to remove this danger 
through the negotiations of Ompteda in Berlin and 
Miinster in St. Petersburg, remained seemingly ineffect- 
ual. It is only when we come to sum up the anti- 
Prussian influences at the Russian court that we see that 

W. Reden reports April 16, 1803, that Ambassador Jackson said to 
him, "So lange Preussen diese Grundsatze (idea of Hanover as an 
English dependency) aufrecht erhalt, wird man nie auf diese Macht 
zahlen konnen sondern sie stets als ein heimlicher Alliirter Frankreichs 
zu betrachten genotigt sein." Des. 24, no. 600 {^Hanoverian Ar- 
chives] . 

^See Hardenberg' s Denkwurdigkeiten (Ranke, ed.), ii, 18. 

^Cf, e. g., such a map as No. 41 in Schrader's Atlas Historique. 


Miinster's work contributed to effect what he and his 
Electorate would have given everything to undo. That 
Russia did not act promptly in approving the Prussian 
plan of occupation has hitherto been often attributed to 
the efforts of Miinster acting under instructions from 
von Lenthe in London. But as we shall see, this is 
seeking in a wholly false way to explain what truth 
there is in the much exaggerated influence of Count 
Miinster, in hastening the fall of the power he repre- 
sented. What he did, and did >vith all the energy of a 
good hater of Prussia, is not to be found in his actions 
under orders from London after war was certain, but in 
his influence exerted steadily for sixteen months before 
in strengthening the anti-Prussian attitude of the Rus- 
sian government.' 

To have been in any way involved by the policies of 
England during ''the Second Hundred Years War" 
(1688-1815), was to be under the necessity of keeping 
one's hand on the pulse of the French-English relations. 
Such a training the diplomats and ministries of Hanover 
had been offered during the eighteenth century and par- 
ticularly in the years since 1792. The insignificance and 
insecurity of their own position, the presence of the 
French in Holland on their western border, their geo- 
graphical connection with the fate of Prussia and with 

^For instance, in December, 1801, he handed in a copy of von Dohm's 
plan for a North German Confederation (see the note at the close of 
Chap. V.) as evidence that Prussia was attempting to increase her 
power in a way inimical to the interests of Russia and North Germany. 
Munster particularly dwelt on von Dohm's suggestion that the matter 
of indemnities be regulated with a view less to making up losses than to 
the consolidating of the region in such a way as to facilitate his plan of 
confederation. Munster dates the plan of von Dohm, September, 1800, 
and says it has been submitted to the consideration of the Berlin cabinet. 
See Calenberg Brief e, Designation 24, Russia, no. 127 {Hanover Ar- 
chives) . 


the war for the commerce of the great rivers flowing 
through Hanover, their membership in the German 
Empire and their undefined and uncomfortable connec- 
tion with the crown of England placed the responsible 
ministers of Hanover where broad views and eternal 
vigilance seemed, not only indispensable, but inevitable. 
For a century Hanover had been, as Cobenzl once said 
of Austria ''a la bouche du canon."' One who had not 
known Hanoverian history before 1803, might come to 
the study of the events of that year with the expectation 
that the Regency in Hanover and the minister in Lon- 
don would have prepared their land and defined their 
policies with the renewal of a French-English war in 
view, knowing that such a storm would find them un- 
protected by any demarcation line.' But we who know 
the years since the treaty of Basel, are fortified against 
such disappointment. 

Historians and pamphleteers who have dealt with the 
events of 1803 from the Hanoverian point of view, have 
fallen into the fundamental error of treating the actions 
of the Electorate as definitive in relation to the outcome. 
They have then lost themselves in an effort to apportion 
the blame for the catastrophe which delivered the Elec- 
torate without resistance into the hands of Napoleon's 
general, Mortier. In such treatments of the subject the 
reader may find duly set forth all the acts and omissions 
of King George III., the miinister in London, the Re- 
gency in Hanover, and the commanding general of the 
Hanoverian arm.y. It is, however, one advantage of the 
point of view maintained in this monograph that, while 

Hist. Zeit, for 1903, p. 480. 

■The treaty of Luneville in February, 1801, had abrogated the De- 
marcation Line between the combatant and non-combatant states of the 
Empire. This view is expressed by Ranke, Bailleu and Thimme. 


not neglecting the events in Hanover, the writer will 
not here be compelled to drag the reader through a long 
disquisition on what a Rudloff, a von Lenthe or a Wall- 
moden-Gimborn did or did not do. Our energies may 
be reserved for the consideration of the field where 
things were really determined. 

Though not blind to the danger or probability of a 
renewed French-English war,' neither the Regency nor 
the responsible Hanoverian minister in London, von 
Lenthe, had done anything to put the small Hanoverian 
army in efficient condition. "^ No understanding had been 
reached with any great power as to what would be done 
for Hanover. The occupation of 1801 and the aggres- 
sive indemnity policy of Prussia had rendered von Lenthe 
so suspicious of Prussia that in the crisis of 1803 he pre- 
ferred a French to a Prussian occupation,- and wavered 
in his plans between disposing the Hanoverian army to 
resist a Prussian or a French invasion.^ The absence 
of any Hanoverian delegate at the negotiations in 

'In March, 1802, von Lenthe in London in a letter to Miinster 
pointed out the danger to Hanover from a breach of the treaty of 
Amiens. See his defence in Zeit. d. hist. Vereins fiir Niedersachsen, 
1856, 164. 

^See (Gen. Wallmoden) Darstellung der Lage worin sick das han- 
noversche Mllitair in den Monathen May, Juny und July sick befand^ 
passim. General Wallmoden's letter to the king, April 2^, 1803, pub- 
lished in Ompteda's Uberwdltigu7ig Hannover s durch die Franzosen, 
324 ff, is a sufficient summary. On the views and morale of the army 
during the important period see F. von Ompteda, Das hannoversche 
Regiment Fuss-garde im Jahre, 1803, in Zeitschrift des hist. Vereins 
fur Niedersachsen, i860, 274 fT. A large part of the letters included in 
this essay are republished in Ompteda, Uberwdliigung, etc., 213 fT. 

^V. Lenthe's defence, sup. cit., 175. Other expressions of his anti- 
Prussian feelings on pp. 169-170. 

*V. Lenthe's defence, sup. cit.y 177. The Regency preferred a Prus- 
sian occupation. Cf. Ompteda, 86. 


Amiens' or later in Paris,' had left Hanover unsecured 
by any direct agreement with the French, The Han- 
overian desertion of the Empire since 1795 and the in- 
effectiveness of that organization, even had it been dis- 
posed to act, made any guarantee of Hanover's neutral- 
ity by the Empire out of the question. The Imperial 
court of Vienna was so disgruntled at both Prussia and 
Hanover, that, like von Lenthe, it rather preferred a 
French to a Prussian occupation.^ There still remained 
Russia distant in the North almost a month's journey 
from London, and at least a fortnight by courier from 

It was to Russia, then, that von Lenthe turned in the 
serious situation created by the, to him, unexpected royal 

^This was due to English jealousy. Cf. Zeitschift des hist. Vereins 
fur Niedersachsen, 1856, p. 163. Note i. 

''In March, 1803, when the danger was clear, it was proposed to send 
V. der Decken to Paris. He left by way of London but the rush of 
events, if not the opposition of Geo. III., rendered such a mission un- 
timely. Cf. Ompteda's Ueberwdltigungy 18. It would not be excep- 
tional if von Lenthe had no information of such threats as Napoleon 
made in November, 1802, against Hanover. Cf. Thiers, Hist, du 
Consulat et de V Empire, iv, 248-249. 

^Cf. A. Fournier, Gentz und Cobenzl. Note i, ^^ (Vienna, 1880). 
After the French had entered Hanover, the Regency issued a declara- 
tion of neutrality, May 28 (in Ompteda, Appendix X), and sent this 
with an appeal for help to the Emperor in Vienna, but Hardenberg 
never had an opportunity to plead his case to the Emperor. Cf. 
Ompteda, 193-194. 

* Anyone who has not convinced themselves by actual examination of 
despatches, how important the time element was in the negotiations of 
those days and how constantly the investigator must keep it in mind, 
will be aided by examining the time table between diplomatic centres 
given in Hiiffer, Der Rastatter Congress, Pt. I, p. 32. It took a 
courier about a week between London and Hanover, five days being 
exceptionally fast time. Cf. Zeit. d. hist. Vereins fUr Niedersachsen, 
1856, pp. 188-189. The time between Berlin and Hanover was 2-3 


message to Parliament, March 8.' With the advice and 
consent of King George, who seems to have been as un- 
conscious as his minister of the rapidity with which 
Napoleon, though perhaps preferring peace, would push 
hostile measures, an appeal was made to the Czar to pro- 
tect Hanover from a French invasion. The success of 
such an appeal seemed practically certain if one accepted 
the assurances of Count Woronzow as the voice of his 
government. He was positive that no one need be 
solicitous about the neutrality of North Germany which 
his master, the Czar, would protect against either French 
or Prussian aggression.^ But Simon Woronzow, though 
his brother was the Russian chancellor, had been too 
long in London and had become too decidedly pro- 
English and anti-Prussian in his sympathies to be a 
trustworthy mouthpiece of the new government on the 
distant Neva.^ The instructions to Count Miinster to 
lay the cause of Hanover before the Czar, left London 
on March iS."* They arrived in St. Petersburg on April 

W. Lenthe's defence, sup. cit., pp. 167-168. 

^V. Lenthe's defence, sup. cit., 171, 172. Ompteda's Ueberwdlti- 
s^ung, 20-21. 

' It was unfortunate for Prussia that in the crisis when the possibility 
of her acting depended on Russia's co-operation, the Russian ambas- 
sadors at the important posts in London, Paris and Vienna should have 
been anti-Prussian in their views. Cf. Ulmann, Russisch-preussische 
Politik bis 1806, pp. 31, 48-49. The blame which von Lenthe in his 
defence lays on Woronzow for having misled him as to Russia's readi- 
ness to protect the neutrality of North Germany, is echoed in the com- 
plaints of Best, Hanoverian attache, to Jacobi after the surrender of the 
Hanoverians. Cf. Jacobi's despatch of July 26, 1803. {Berlin Ar- 

*Von Lenthe's defence, sup. cit., 1^2. Lenthe's idea seemed to be 
that a Prussian invasion would surely come, and that Russia ought at 
least to co-operate in order to guarantee Hanover's future when the 
occasion for occupation was gone. The long occupation of 1801 and 


12, but a series of intervening circumstances, Russian 
holidays and Miinster's absence on a hunting trip, pre- 
vented an audience with the Russian chancellor until 
May 10. In the meantime, Sir John Warren had re- 
ceived instructions which were sent a month after 
Miinster's, directing him to co-operate with the latter, 
and to claim, on behalf of England, Russia's good ofBces 
in keeping the north of Germany undisturbed. To 
Miinster was left the editorship of the joint note, and a 
very mild one it was. Sir John's instructions' did not 
permit his suggesting specific measures, and Miinster, 
having little hope that Russia could be brought to take 
any positive steps, had felt it better to present in general 
the importance of the neutrality of North Germany and 
to refrain from definite proposals in the first interview.'' 
He therefore framed his communication, keeping in view 
the probability that Hanover might yet have to depend on 
Prussians co-operation.^ To this mild and belated repre- 
sentation of Miinster and Warren,* much importance is 

the absurdity of thinking that Prussia could be expected to march in 
and out of Hanover as each new turn of English policy endangered Han- 
over and with it all North Germany, might well make both von Lenthe 
and the Regency anxious to avoid an unconditional Prussian occupation. 
^In the English Record Office under date of April 19, 1803. They 
reached St. Petersburg in the remarkably short time of seventeen days. 
April 8, Warren reports having talked over the exigencies of the 
approaching struggle, and Chancellor Woronzow said in his pompous 
style "that in the proposed invasion of Hanover respect must be paid 
to the opinion of Russia." Warren was decidedly anti-Prussian and 
the general English feeling was that Prussia's proposals had been ap- 
proved by Duroc for Napoleon. 

■'* Miinster's despatch of April 29/17. \Hanover Archives. '\ 

^ Ompteda, 87. See footnote i. 

^Miinster supplemented it on the following day by more specific ob- 
jections to Prussia's proposals, and he again agitated the subject of the 
exchange of Hildesheim. Miinster to the king, May 12/24. 

735] FRENCH O ecu PA TION OF HA NO VER 29 7 

attached by those who explain Prussia's inaction by 
Russia's opposition.' But any comparison of dates and 
distances will show how little influence these representa- 
tions of the Hanoverian and English envoys, which were 
made on May 10, could have exercised upon the instruc- 
tions sent from St. Petersburg to the Russian ambassa- 
dors in Berlin and Paris; for these instructions, which, 
as we have seen, were in Paris by the middle of May, 
must have left St. Petersburg certainly as early as the 
first of May in order to have reached either Paris or 
Berlin by the date mentioned. Indeed, after the sketch 
that has been given of the situation in St. Petersburg, 
it does not need the exploitation of the above action of 
the two envoys of George III. in order to explain what 
attitude a friendly and interested power such as Russia, 
would be likely to assume toward an invasion of Han- 
over — an invasion which even the Prussian king himself 
termed a **mesure de rigeur."^ 

The truth is that Russia was well prepared to put her 
own interpretation on Prussia's plans. It must not be 
forgotten that Russia had learned in 1801 how willingly 
Prussia would retain Hanover, if, when England refused 
just such a proposition as Prussia was now making, 
France and Russia would unite to support her against 
England. England refused to entertain Prussian views 
of maritime neutrality in 1801, and Russia knew from 
her experience in negotiating the convention of June 17, 
1 801, that England's views were unchanged. Since then, 

^See for example Treitschke, i, 214. Up to May 24, Chancellor 
Woronzow had vouchsafed no reply to either Miinster or V/arren. On 
that date he told Miinster that as Russia had taken steps towards main- 
taining peace, he could take no such action as Miinster had suggested, 
as that could only be justified by the war they were working to avoid. 
Miinster's despatch of May 24. {Hanover Archives.) 

^King to Goltz, March 28 {Berlin Archives), 


Russia, after seeking for some time to modify Prussia's 
indemnities, had seen her enter into possession of her 
claims by virtue of a treaty with France. Can there be 
any doubt that Russia would see in this combination of 
French patronage and Prussian desires and interests the 
keynote to any Prussian proposition about saving Han- 
over from the French^ or holding it if England, by not 
recognizing ''free ships, free goods," should inflict losses 
on Prussian commerce?'' Such a move would mean the 
destruction of the recently restored order and balance in 
the Empire, which the Czar might regard as in part his 
work. 3 Chancellor Woronzow and his master desired to 

^This Russian suspicion that Prussia was acting in collusion with 
France is attested by Goltz's despatches, cf. e. g., April 27/May 9 {Ber- 
lin Archives), See also Ulmann, Russisch-Preussische Politik^ pp. 
S3, 54, 61 (notes), 62, 66. 

"In a despatch to Alopaus from St. Petersburg, May 25/June 6, 
Chancellor Woronzow acknowledges the receipt of Alopaus' despatch 
of May 10, reporting an interview with Haugwitz in which the latter 
blamed Russia for not supporting Prussia's proposals in London and 
attributed Prussia's failure to act energetically to Russia's silence. 
Woronzow explains that Russia was silent because she knew that the 
demand for the principles of 1781 would never be acceded to by Eng- 
land, and that **Quelque importante que puisse etre pour le Roi 
d'Angleterre la possession de I'Electorat de Hanovre, elle lui est cepend- 
ant purement personelle et ne saurait engager le Ministre Britannique 
a la mettre en equivalent avec un objet qu'une raison d'etat majeure 
Lufera toujours defendre a toute extremite. La Prusse en faisant ces pro- 
positions a abonde dans le sens de la France et est devenu ainsi I'ex- 
ecuteur des volontes de Bonaparte ; nous ne pouvons sous aucun 
rapport suivre son exemple." A copy of this despatch was evidently 
sent to Haugwitz by Alopaus on May 31, when he notified the former 
that if Prussia was prepared to adopt an independent policy and sustain 
it by force of arms, Russia was "prete a la soutenir de tous nos moyens 
et meme avec nos troupes." Cf. Rep. XI, Russland, 252 A {Berlin 
Archives) . 

^ It was to this side of the Czar's pride that the Hanoverian appeals 
vv^ere made. The French and Russians had forced their plan of indem- 
nity on the Reichsdeputation. Russia was interested in keeping an 
equilibrium between Prussia and Austria. 


have Russia play a large part in settling the difficulties 
between England and France without, however, involv- 
ing Russia in war. They were piqued at seeing Prussia, 
possibly in collusion with France, rushing forward to 
mediate and that without consulting Russia/ Russia 
was not blind to the seriousness of the situation and the 
need of haste, but she most seriously doubted Prussia's 
motives and she overestimated her ability to restrain the 
French. Had not the intercession of Russia been effect- 
ual when she spoke for Piedmont and Naples ?"" These 
motives 3 in whatever combination they are placed were 
all effective before Miinster's interview of May 10, 1803. 
They enable us to understand why Russia assumed a 
position that emxbarrassed and mystified the Prussian 
king and cabinet, until they learned by the indirect route 
of Markoff's utterances to Lucchesini in Paris, that 
Russia not only did not favor a Prussian occupation of 
Hanover, but was revealing to Napoleon the lack of 
harmony between the two great powers from whom he 
might in any way expect opposition to his plans on the 

^Goltz, April 12/30 {Berlin Archives) and Munster (Tatter, charge), 
April 7/19, Cal. Br. Des. 24, Russland, 131a {Hanover Archives) . 
"^Archiv. fur osterreichische Geschichte, vol. 52, 513-14. 

'Alexander's recent disenchantment as to Prussia's military strength 
should be mentioned in this connection. See his utterances after the 
Memel interview in Ulmann, 42. 

*F. Martens, Recueil, etc., vi, 312. This was reported by Alopaus 
on May 23 as a result of an interview in which Haugwitz complained 
of Russia's action. If one notices that it took at that time about one 
week between Paris and Berlin, and at least three weeks between St. 
Petersburg and Paris, one can see that MarkofT was acting on instruc- 
tions antedating any interview of Miinster's. That Alopaus had sim- 
ilar instructions is clearly indicated by Simon Woronzow's communica- 
tions to von Lenthe, May 15, of a section of his brother's letter to 
Alopaus. The matter and date are cited by von Lenthe {Zeit. d. hist 


Meanwhile affairs in Berlin had taken such a turn 
that in any attempt to apportion the responsibility 
for the inaction of Prussia in 1803, one can only say, 
not that Russia's attitude caused Frederick William to 
abandon Hanover, but rather, that if Russia had been 
an aggressive supporter of Prussia's first proposal, Haug- 
witz might have been enabled to bring the king to exe- 
cute, even in the face of Napoleon's Armte d' Hanovre,^ 
the measures which he advocated. By April 22., Fred- 
erick William knew that his overtures in London had 
been rejected,^ and that his well meant plans were re- 
garded in Hanover in much the same light as the occu- 
pation of 1801. The king was aggrieved and all too 

Verein fur Niedersachsen, 1856, p. 176) as proof that Hanover's action 
at St. Petersburg was not responsible for Russia's action. Alopaus 
evidently did not act on the instructions which he received after he had 
become convinced that Prussia was in earnest in its desire to protect 
the neutrality of North Germany, and about the time Hanover, through 
Capt. Decken, was urging Prussia to save it from the French. The 
account above makes no reference to a letter from Alexander to Frederick 
William III. opposing the Prussian occupation, and hinting that Prus- 
sia had ulterior aims in its plans for such occupation. Hardenberg 
{Denkwicrdigkeiten, ii, 18) quotes such a letter. The evidence for such 
a letter, of which there was much talk at that time, is given by Ulmann, 
p. 65, note 2. To the evidence given there I would add that of Mr. 
Jackson. Cf. his important despatch of July 16, 1803, in the English 
Record Office. Such a letter was not found by Dr. Bailleu while edit- 
ing the correspondence between the two rulers. Cf. Publicationen aus 
den kgl. preuss. Archiven, vol. 75, p. xiv. 

* The army was then being assembled in Holland. On March 20, 
Napoleon had ordered Citizen Lacuee to reconnoitre the whole West- 
phalian region. ''Vousverrez en Hanovre le nombre de troupes qui 
y est, les obstacles qu'on pourrait opposez a une invasion." Corres- 
pondance, VIII, 329-330. On April 18, 1803, he issued an order to as- 
semble the French troops at Nymwegen "without noise or ostenta- 
tion." Correspondance , VIII, 357. 

^Postscript to despatch to Goltz of that date. Jacobi had presented 
his note on April 9, and Lord Hawkesbury replied on the i6th. 


ready to substitute his injured pride for reasons of state. 
The uncertainty of peace or war and the silence of the 
Russian government allowed him to postpone all aggres- 
sive measures,' and Haugwitz and the party of action ' 
could not, without some definite external impetus, over- 
come the inertia of the king weighed down as he was by 
such councillors as Beyme, Lombard and Kockeritz ; the 
king would take no action that might involve him in war.^ 
The cause of Hanover pleaded in Paris in the name 
of the king of Prussia'* had failed to move Napoleon 
from a policy long determined. ^ It was just at this 
juncture — Napoleon firm to invade Hanover and close 
the Elbe and Weser, England selfishly indifferent, Russia 
disapprovingly silent,^ Prussia unsupported and unde- 
cided — that Captain Decken, this time in the suite of 
the Duke of Gloucester, arrived in Berlin to plead for a 
second time the cause of his country. ^ In 1801, he had 
come to stay a Prussian occupation, which Russia was 

'Ompteda, Ueberwdltigung, etc., 91, 94, 96, 98. 

^Haugwitz, Mollendorf, Schulenburg, Struensee, Hohenlohe and 
Gen. Riickel. The military men were unanimous in urging the king 
to prevent a French occupation but the king made all military measures 
dependent on the approval of the Duke of Brunswick. See Mr. Jack- 
son's despatches of March 22 and 29, May ro, 24, 28, 31 and June 28, 
{English Record Office.) Hardenberg, who was also for an aggressive 
program, was not consulted at all. Denkwicrdigkeiten, ii, 13 iff, 23. 

^Ompteda, p. 23. 

* See Lucchesini's memorial of April 7, in Hausser, ii, 445. 

^Lucchesini's report of May 3, 1803. Bailleu, ii, 139. 

*By May 5, Alopaus, though personally interested in the cause of 
Hanover, had felt that his instructions required him to say that Russia, 
having offered his mediation, could not take measures that presupposed 
the outbreak of war. Ompteda, 75-104. 

'For a full account of Decken's mission see Ompteda, 83 fif. V. d. 
Decken's reports are in Cal.Br. Arch. Des. 24, No. 601 {Hanover Ar- 
chives) . 


urging. In 1803 he came to ask a Prussian occupation, 
which Russia disapproved.^ Would the request of the 
Hanoverian Regency in 1803 prove any more effective 
than their protest in 1801? 

The Regency had despatched Captain Decken on their 
own responsibility. The letter of King George to Duke 
Adolphus of Cambridge had left them without any hope 
of peace.'* Russia, in whom they, like von Lenthe, placed 
confidence, was too far away to make effective the good- 
will its minister in London so loudly proclaimed, and, 
whatever the absent Elector and his minister thought, 
the Regency had their own views of a French occupa- 
tion.3 So they had taken matters in their own hands, 
and the sending of Captain Decken was the result. 
Decken having oriented himself in the situation at Ber- 
lin by interviews with the Duke of Brunswick^ and the 
English minister, succeeded, through the good ofiftces of 
Queen Louise, in obtaining an interview with King 
Frederick William. ^ The result but confirmed the fore- 

^V. d. Decken's instructions in Ompteda, 85, 86. Prussian occupa- 
tion was the third and last alternative and was to be arranged with Rus- 
sian co-operation. Decken was fresh from London where he had im- 
bibed from Woronzow unjustified confidence in Russia and von Lenthe's 
suspicions of the Prussian Ministry. May 18, he wrote *'Der Konig 
hat gewiss die besten Absichten, von dem Ministerio miissen wir leider 
das Gegenteil erwarten." 

* Letter arrived in Hanover, April 29. Zeit. des hist. Vereins fur 
Niedersachsen, 1856, p. 188. 

* Regency to king, May 8, in Ompteda, 86. 

*The Duke declared that he would not mix in the affair as he feared 
for his own possessions. But he did later and at a most inopportune 
time, i. e., the conference at Corbelitz, May 28. 

^The report of the interview with the king is printed by Ompteda, 92 
fif. Queen Louise is named by Alopaus with Beyme and Kockeritz as 
being opposed to any energetic measure. Cf. his despatch, May 2/14, 
in F. Martens, Receuil, vi, 311. 


cast of the situation which his friends had given the 
optimistic envoy. The king considered it to be his 
policy to avoid in every way a war with France, and 
France would not consent to a Prussian occupation. 
Interviews with Haugwitz showed that minister bitter 
against England for her rejection of his proposition, dis- 
gruntled at Russia for her cold indifference, which he 
attributed to Miinster's influence,' but anxious by every 

' Alopaus was of the same opinion (Ompteda, 104). He told Decken 
about May 19, that three weeks before, he, as well as Woronzow in Lon- 
don, had received instructions to oppose a Prussian occupation. Evi- 
dently the instructions to Markoff in Paris are of the same date. I have 
found no evidence to indicate that Alopaus obeyed his instructions, but 
the indications are rather that Alopaus, a Finnish Protestant, of liberal 
views, guarded Russia's interests as he understood them. But with 
positive instructions in his pocket he had evidently only talked to 
Haugwitz of general policies, and thus left that minister without any 
grounds for assuring Frederick William that if he occupied Hanover he 
would have Russia's unqualified support. On May 7, Jackson reports 
Haugwitz as complaining to Alopaus of Russia's indifference and lack 
of energy. {English Record Office.) Did Russia express her disap- 
proval to Goltz, the Prussian ambassador? Alexander Woronzow told 
Sir John Warren that Russia had passed over Prussia's first proposals 
in marked silence; "that on a subsequent reference to them the Prus- 
sian government had been informed as well through Count Goltz as by 
M. Alopaus at Berlin that His Imperial Majesty could not consent to 
any change in the present state of the North of Germany, and that he 
trusted His Prussian Majesty would endeavor to preserve the peace of 
the Empire as any invasion of it could not be seen by His Imperial 
Majesty with indifference." Sir John Warren to Hawkesbury, May 
24, 1803 {English Record Office), But Count Goltz's despatches, while 
pointing out Russia's desire to play the leading part herself, do not show 
this disapproval clearly. His despatch of April 23/11 (arriving in Ber- 
lin, May 6), shows that though Chancellor Woronzow possibly did not 
like some features of Jacobi's instructions, Goltz thought that, as to 
measures regarding Hanover, " Sa Majeste Imperiale les justifie et les 
approuve d'avance par I'importance de leurs motifs qui les dictent." Re- 
plying the same day (May 6) King Frederick William assures Goltz 
" Vous vous etes heureusement trompe en vous s'imaginant que vos 
premieres communications ont donne de I'humeur a la Cour de Peters- 


bourg. Celle que Je viens de recevoir de sa part me proiivent bien le 
contraire, et mes demarches dictees par les vues les plus pures ayant ete 
representees d'ailleiirs dans les rapports du. Sr. d'Alopaus sous leur veri- 
table point de vue, il etait impossible quelles fussent mal interpretees a 
Petersbourg." Goltz's despatch of May 9/ April 27, containing an ac- 
count of a friendly conversation with Woronzow in which the chancel- 
lor had asked Goltz not to press him for a categorical answer, concludes 
"... mais il ne faut malgre cela ne pas prendre le change sur la 
jalousie que les mesures eventuelles de Votre Majeste ont excitee." The 
cause of this lies in the Russian fear of French influence, Goltz says. 
This despatch, however, did not reach Berlin till May 31. A still better 
proof that no definite Russian opposition to Prussia's proposals had been 
expressed to Goltz or through Alopaus before the king of Prussia had 
practically decided on his course, is the despatch from the king to Goltz, 
May 23, 1803. {Berlin Archives.) "Le Comte de Markoff a eu une 
communication d'une depeche addressee par le Chancelier Comte de 
Woronzof au Sr. d'Alopaus et il en fait part au Marquis de Lucchesini 
pour lui observer que la Cour de Russie n' a pas approuve ma declara- 
tion au Roi d'Angleterre ni mes idees relativement au pays d'Hanovre. 
II paroit ainsi que les ouvertures dont Je vous ai charge a le suite de la 
mission du general Duroc n'ont pas ete interpretes a Petersbourg dans 
leur veritable sens et J'en suis vivement aiTecte car Je n'ai jamais eu 
d'autre but que de sauver la tranquilite du Nord de I'Allemagne et je ne 
connaissais d'autre moyen pour y parvenir que d'ecarter les Francois de 
I'Electorat de Hanovre." After the English rejection and before the 
news above given, the king had been brought to consider cnlj^ a pro- 
position for a cordon to protect the Elbe and Weser, and his action on 
this was conditional on the approval of the Duke of Brunswick (Jack- 
son's despatches of May 18 and 28). All this simply emphasizes the 
fact that the importance of Russia's position consists in this ; that dur- 
ing the decisive weeks it left Prussia to act alone, and unsupported 
action in opposition to France was beyond the powers of King Fred- 
erick William III. 

Such light on Russia's attitude received in Berlin as late as May 23, 
only helped to confirm the king and the party of inaction in a policy 
that had, since May i, pointed straight to such a decision as that reached 
at the conference in Corbelitz. It is as an excuse for inaction and a 
return blow at England that one must understand such passages as the 
following in the king's (Haugwitz's) instructions to Jacobi, May 31: 
" Je ne devais pas m'attendre a une sollicitation de cette nature apres 
que les Ministres d' Angleterre et de Hanovre avaient remue ciel et 
terre a Petersbourg pour y representer dans un faux jour mes premieres 
bonnes intentions et qu'ils avaient efiFectivement reussi a leur attirer 
I'improbation de la Cour de Russie. II en est resulteque J'ai ete oblige 


means to forward Decken's plans.' Alopaus, the Rus- 
sian ambassador, was personally so interested that he 
offered to go into the French camp and negotiate the 
Hanoverian surrender if things came to such a pass. 
The English ambassador, Jackson, was willing to send 
his private secretary to London with a Hanoverian 
appeal to the English Cabinet for maritime concessions 
that might purchase a Prussian occupation.^ But out of 
all this and a second interview with the king, 3 nothing 
definite came. The king in his embarrassment and in- 
decision had fallen upon the idea — all his own — of hav- 
ing the Hanoverian Regency offer Napoleon a sum 
equivalent to what he might expect to get from the 
land. And this suggestion was the most positive com- 
fort the king offered Captain Decken.'^ The opportunity 

d'afifaiblir I'interet que J'aurais pu manifester ulterieurement en faveur 
du pays de Hanovre. ..." In succeeding despatches (June 6 and 18), 
Haugwitz la3'-s the blame on the English ministry and its rejection of 
the proposals made by Jacobi in April. At other times and to other 
parties, Haugwitz blamed the ministry in Hanover, and to trusted per- 
sons, the king and the opposition clique in the cabinet. Schulenburg, 
in a letter to Haugwitz, May 22, said: "Die Schuld frillt wirklich allein 
auf England." R. XI, n. 140, C. 2, Vol. I [Berlin Archives). 

^Decken's report of May 12. Cf. Ompteda, 95. 

'The long memorial in favor of Hanover that Jackson prepared and 
read to Decken, is not in the English Record Oflice. 
'May 17. Ompteda, 99. 

-Decken told the Russian ambassador, "que le roi, apres avoir pris 
connaissance de la lettre duduc, etait visiblement touche et s' etait eerie: 
*C'est trop tard, je ne puis pas entreprendre seul la guerre contre la 
France, et il le faudrait, si actuellement je m'opposais a I'entree des 
Frangais dans votre pays. Je m'en suis assez occupe; j'ai fait faire les 
demarches les plus promptes, mais elles n'ont mene a rien; de Londres 
j'ai regu une reponse insignifiante; je n'ose pas compter sur la Russie si 
contre I'aveude I'Empereur je m'embarque. Que voulez-vous done que 
je fasse?'" Alopaus despatch of May 2,14, 1803. Cf. F. Martens, 
Recueil, etc., vi, 311. 


for successful, decisive action on Prussia's part had 
passed. On May 12, the English ambassador left Paris, 
and six days later war was declared. On May 22, the 
French army under General Mortier began its march 
against Hanover.' The rapidity of its movements and 
the weakness of the Hanoverian defence, rendered un- 
timely Frederick William's futile ofTer to become the 
French tax-collector in Hanover and thus guarantee to 
Napoleon a certain tribute from the Electorate, if Mortier 
and his men were kept back.* The conference at Corbe- 
litz, near Madgeburg, May 28, where this synonym for 
inaction was decreed by the king, marks a turning point 
in Prussian history for the next decade. ^ Haugwitz, 
with the same clearness and breadth of vision that had 
signalized his attitude throughout the crisis, pleaded with 
earnestness the cause of Prussia's very existence. France 
must not be admitted into the heart of Prussia's domin- 
ions—almost to the gates of Magdeburg.^ The effort of 

' On May 27, Talleyrand informed Lucchesini of the French military 
plans (Bailleu, ii, 148) which had been dissembled (Bailleu, ii, 142-145), 
despite assurances that Prussia should be informed of everything. 

' The proposition is contained in the instructions despatched immedi- 
ately to Lucchesini, Bailleu, ii, 145 fif. 

^The only military measure the king would approve was the placing 
of a weak cordon of Prussian troops on the side next to the invaded ter- 
ritory. This measure was humbly explained to Bonaparte and then 
abandoned. The immeasureable weakness of Frederick William III. in 
this crisis again warns to caution in attributing his inaction solely xo 
Russia's negative attitude. 

*Max 'L^\ivcL2.VLn, Scharnhorst, ZZ^'- "Sie (Prussian government) liess 
zu, dass ein franzosisches Heer von Hannover Besitz ergrifif. Was das 
sagen wollte, ermessen wir wenn wir bedenken, dass der Kurstaat im 
Osten an das Stammland des brandenburgisch-preussischen Staates 
grenzte, Hamburg und Bremen umklammerte, die untere Weser und 
Elbe beherrschte, bis fast an die Thore von Liibeck und die Gestade der 
Ostsee reichte. Frankreich war der Nachbar von Danemark geworden, 
von Schweden nur durch die Breite von Mecklenburg getrennt; sein 


that day is the fairest incident in the career of the Min- 
ister of Neutrality. But deserted by the Duke of Bruns- 
wick in the crucial moment, the efforts of Haugwitz in 
favor of an aggressive policy were more than nullified by 
the king's ineradicable preference for peace at any price, 
strengthened as it was by the party of Beyme, Lombard 
and Kockeritz. The only influence from which any result 
might have been expected was silenced. Alopaus, the 
Czar's envoy, was still bound by instructions which he 
had never approved,' and that no longer represented his 
master's sentiments, for the views of the Russian gov- 
ernment had undergone a revolution so sudden and de- 
cisive as to be almost inexplicable. 

Three days after the conference at Corbelitz, Alopaus 
received from St. Petersburg orders to arrange with 
Prussia a joint Russian-Prussian protection for the neu- 
trality of North Germany and the Hansa cities. "" 

Haugwitz's despairing exclamation, *' Why did you not 
come to me with such a proposition a fortnight, even a 
week ago? It is all over with Hanover now," was truer 
than that minister knew. Russia's conviction that Prus- 

Heer stand zwei Marsclie von Magdeburg, fiinf Marsche von Berlin, 

sieben Marsche von Stettin. Dass die ganze rhenisch-westfalische Stel- 

lung im Riicken umgangen war, war ein Nachtheil der hierneben nahezu 


• ^ May 12, he was doing all he could to forward Decken's plans. 

Ompteda, 94. Cf. also Ulmann. "12, yz (foot-notes), 

^F. Martens, Recueil des Traitis conclus par la Russie, vi, 313 flf. 
The instructions are dated May 6/18. A second and more definite set 
were sent May 12/24. Marten's discussion gives the mistaken impres- 
sion that Alopaus had received the latter when he went to Haugwitz, 
May 31. Martens misdates later correspondence between Alexander 
and Frederick William, as may be seen by comparing his material with 
the letters as given in Publicationen aus den kgl. preussischen Archiven^ 
vol. 75 (edited by Dr. Paul Bailleu). 


sia was truly in earnest in its opposition to France, and 
that the occasion for action was a real one, requiring 
such expedition and such measures as Prussia had pro- 
posed in good faith, had come too late to save the Elec- 
torate and the Hanseatic cities, in whose fate Russia was 
indeed deeply interested.' 

Indecision at Berlin had decided the fate of Hanover, 
where equal indecision prevailed. The orders from King 
George through the minister in London to the Regency 
in Hanover concerning the resistance to be offered to a 
French invasion, had been necessarily conditioned by 
lack of knowledge and a desire not to hamper the 
Regency and General Wallmoden by rigid directions 
unsuited to meet rapidly-changing conditions. "" They 
were elastic enough to have justified aggressive action 
on the part of a strong Regency and a vigorous com- 
manding general. 3 But it was the indefiniteness of the 
instructions from London that the Hanoverian ministers 

' It is likely that Alopaus's reports produced a more favorable view of 
Haugwitz's plans and a realization that Frederick William needed to be 
pushed on rather than restrained. Prussia had so often proclaimed the 
inviolability of the neutrality of North Germany that it might well have 
been expected to do something in such a crisis. Appeals from related 
houses (Holstein and Mecklenburg. Miinster's despatch of May 24/12, 
Des. 24^ 13h^ [^Hanover Archives']) and the Hanseatic cities may have 
helped show the widespread danger of a French occupation of Hanover. 

^V. Lenthe wrote to Wallmoden, April 5, 1803: " Meines Ermessens 
werden Sie sich auf die moglichen Falle zum voraus fassen miissen, und 
dabei niemahls auf bestimmte Vorschriften von hieraus rechnen diirfen, 
da die Entfernung dergleichen nicht zulasst, und es viel mehr ausserst 
bedenklich sein wiirde Ihnen dadurch die Entschliessung zu erschweren 
wozu hier unbekannte oder nicht erwartete Umstande Sie nothigen 
konnen." No. 1198 {Hanover Archives) . 

^I refer to the orders of May 13. Appendix 11 to Wailmoden's Dar- 
stellung der Lage, etc. 


assimilated/ General Wallmoden, who commanded the 
poorly-equipped and ill-organized Hanoverian army of 
ten thousand, was an old man with no great decision or 
energy/ The result of the shifting of responsibility be- 
tween the three possible sources of authority, each weak in 
itself, was that the Hanoverian army after retreating from 
position to position was saved a definite engagement with 
Mortier's corps by the convention of Suhlingen, June 3, 
1803/ This capitulation was negotiated by a delegation 
sent out by the Regency/ According to its terms, the 
Electorate was delivered over to a French occupation, the 
Hanoverian army retiring with the honors of war to an 
assigned area beyond the Elbe, where they were pledged 
to remain until exchanged against French soldiers cap- 

' In an informal note (Collegialschreiben), von Lenthe, in London, 
writes to the Regency, May 10, 1803, about the distribution of the troops 
to oppose a Prussian invasion. Ompteda, Appendix VI. In the pre- 
ceding week the Regency had sent Decken to Berlin to ask for a Prus- 
sian occupation as a final measure. 

-In a letter to Lord Malmesbury, Paget writes from Embden, Jan. 
31, 1795: " Walmoden is irresolute and uncertain. . . . He is desirous 
of throwing as much responsibility as possible on the Generals under his 
command." Paget Papers, vol. i. Cf. also the material in Wallmoden's 
defense {Darstellung der Lage, etc.). See, for example, his letter to 
the Regency, April 20. Appendix II. On the same date the Regency 
wrote to ask Wallmoden what should be done. On the 22nd, they replied 
to Wallmoden's appeal for directions with the much-quoted sentence, 
" dass mann zur Zeit vermeiden miisse, was Ombrage und Aufsehen 
erwecken konnte." Wallmoden showed more energy and spirit than 
the Regency. Cf. his note of May 5, 1803, Appendix VII. to Darstel- 
lung, etc. 

'Published in facsimile by Ompteda in his Uberwdltigung Hannovers 
durch die Franzosen, p. 362, For the clearest sketch of the events in 
Hanover during April-July, 1803, see F. Thimme: Innere Zustdnde des 
Kurfurstentums Hannover^ 1806-1813, vol. i, 35-59. 

*The Regency tried to get either a Prussian representative or the 
Russian ambassador to come on and conduct the negotiations with cr 
for them. 


tured by the English. On the anniversary of the King- 
Elector's birthday the French army entered the capital 
city. The shame of Kloster-Zeven had come again.' 
Napoleon, either unsatisfied with its provisions, or de- 
siring to compromise George III., made his ratification 
of the convention conditional on the ratification by that 
monarch as king of England. King George very prop- 
erly refused his ratification.'' General Mortier immedi- 
ately renewed his advance. The natural timidity of Gen- 
eral Wallmoden was increased by the traitorous conduct 
of some of the provincial estates who refused longer to 
support his army, and by mutiny among his own troops. 
Immediate submission seemed to him the only course, 
and thus the Hanoverian army was not given the oppor- 
tunity to make a defence ;3 for on July 5, he arranged 

'During the Seven Years' War the attempt of George II. to support 
Frederick the Great by the operations of an independent Hanoverian 
army was brought to a disastrous close by the defeat of the Duke of 
Cumberland at Hastenbeck and his weak surrender to the French at 
Kloster-Zeven, Sept. 8, 1757. See Waddington, La Guerre de Sept 
Ans. Les Debuts, ch. ix. 

^Hawkesbury to Talleyrand, June 15, 1803, in O. Browning, England 
and Napoleon in 1803, 290. This despatch illustrates as no other docu- 
ment can, the peculiarity of the king's double sovereignty. 

'That the resistance would have been as effective as indicated by some 
of the military pamphleteers who later attacked their commander and 
the Regency, is very doubtful. When the recruiting was going on in 
May, young men fled the country and several communities created such 
disorder that troops were needed to quiet them. Several cavalry regi- 
ments mutinied while the troops were disposed for battle on July 3. 
One should not draw any sweeping conclusion from these facts as there 
were mitigating circumstances and much both in 1803 and in the years 
of foreign domination which followed that showed the loyalty of army 
and people to their absent ruler. Cf. Ompteda's Uberwaltigung, etc., 52 
et seq., and the letters of Major Ompteda published in Zeitschrift des 
hist. Vereins fur Niedersachsen, i860, 274 ff , for some idea of the spirit 
of 1803. The pamphlet literature called out by the disaster has some 
value from this point of view. On the action of the Estates, cf. Haus- 
ser, ii, 461 fif, and Hassell, Das KurfHrstentum Hannover, etc., p. 281. 

749 ] FRENCH O ecu PA TION OF HA NO VER 3 1 1 

with Mortier an almost unconditional surrender, and 
Hanover entered on its decade of submission to foreign 

Prussia, too, had chosen the part of humiliation. 
After the conference at Corbelitz, King Frederick Wil- 
liam had started south on a visit to his newly-acquired 
possessions. With him went Lombard and the group 
that had dashed any hope of action. Haugwitz, dissatis- 
fied to the point of resignation, was left in Berlin, from 
which place he sent urgent memorials based on the 
changed attitude of Russia.'' But King Frederick Wil- 
liam could not be aroused. ^ In these trying days he 
proved himself in truth "a lamb that carried anger as a 
flint bears fire." He sought only to avoid the alliances 
that France^ on the one hand, and Russia on the other, ' 
were urging upon him. Point by point he yielded before 
the French autocrat,^ who in these weeks might well 

^In 1741, when Hanover was threatened by the danger of a French 
invasion, George II. had concluded in Hanover's behalf a special 
neutrality treaty with the French. Prof. Ward {Hanover and Great 
Britain, p. 147) calls the treaty of 1741, "the first time in the history 
of the Personal Union when the interests of the Hanoverian Electorate 
were openly and in a most marked fashion treated as separate from 
those of Great Britain." 

'See the memorial of June 4, in Bailleu, ii, 152-154. 

'Cf. king to Haugwitz, June 9, Bailleu, ii, 159. 

* Instructions to Laforest, French envoy in Berlin, Bailleu, ii, 144- 

*C/. Ulmann, 68 et seq. Also Pub. aus den kgl, preuss. Archiven, 
vol. 75. The EngHsh ofTer of subsidy accompanied by a guarded offer 
to refer any ulterior matter, by which the subject of Hanover is meant, 
was never presented. Cf. Instructions to Jackson, June 28, and his 
reply July 16, 1803. F. O. Prussia, no. 63 {English Record Office). 

•'See Frederick William's despatches in June, 1803, published in 
Bailleu, ii. Napoleon broke his promises to tell the king his plans be- 
fore executing them, and disregarded his own solemn assertions that 
the Hanseatic cities would not be disturbed. 

3 1 2 HANO VER AND PR USSIA [ -r^o 

find justification for his often manifested contempt of 
Prussia. What Frederick WiUiam gave to his advisers 
as his ultimatum — that only the death at an invader's 
hands of a Prussian on Prussian soil, could justify the 
abandonment of neutrality' — v^as made patent to the 
world through his retreat in the face of French aggres- 
sion. The Prussian king had failed to meet the first 
great crisis of his reign. ^ He had given to Europe the 
measure of Prussia's weakness. In the story of 1803, 
Frederick William III. is the one determining factor, 
and with him lies the ultimate responsibility for the 
initiation of the disasters that followed his unwillingness 
to pay the price of national honor and self-respect. ^ 
For him and his state was reserved the privilege of 
Polyphemus's cave, that of being devoured last.^ 

^ Hardenberg, Denkwurdigkeiten, ii, 22. 

''■ Cf. Max Lenz in Cosmopolis for 1898, 586, 587. For a further dis- 
cussion of the views contained in this article cf. Hist. Zeit.y vol. 81, 56, 
and vol, 82, 188. Bailleu, in his introduction to volume 29 of the Pub- 
licationen ausdenkgl.preussischen Archivetiy p.xxxv, points out the gen- 
eral discontent in Berlin and throughout North Germany at the weakness 
of the Prussian policy. In confirmation of my disinclination to excuse 
King Frederick William on the ground of Russia's inaction, I may cite 
the opinion of Hardenberg in his Denkwurdigkeiten (ed. Rank), ii, 18, 
19. Prof. Ulmann, in his Russisch-Preussische Politik bis 1806, p. 57, 
indicates a similar view of the king's character. Lombard, in his me- 
morial (Aug. 20, 1806), shares the view of that day as to Russian influ- 
ence. Cf. Bailleu, ii, 615. 

^ What might have happened if he had opposed the French is sug- 
gested by Hardenberg, DenkwHrdigkeiten, ii, 14, 15. What did happen 
was that before the year ended, Prussia's position became so untenable 
that she was obliged to consider a French alliance as a way out. Cf, 
Bailleu, ii, p. xliii. 

* Frederick the Great, in his circular letter, in 1784, urging such a 
union as the Fiirstenbund, had used this figure, and Alopaus now turned 
it on Frederick William, Cf. Jackson's despatch of June 28, 1803. 
{English Record Office.) In a conversation with the Russian ambassa- 
dor, early in May, Haugwitz had said: "Nous serons les derniers a etre 


It is with this sketch of the oft-told story of 1803/ 
that this study of selected phases of Hanoverian-Prussian 
relations may well close. At this one point we may 
group all the threads of influence that have from time to 
time affected the relations between the powers. The 
collapse of the Electorate before the French invasion, 
leads us not to an apportionment of responsibility^ be- 
tween individual members of the Electoral government, 
but to a clearer impression of the essential weakness of 
a system which in the absence of the ruler, made possible 
the division of power and thus of responsibility. The 
very fact of a French invasion reminds us that we are 

manges; voila le seul avantage de la Prusse. Que les Anglais exercent 
le despotisme sur les mers, c'est un tres grand inconvenient, je 1' 
avoue, mais le despotisme continental est infiniment plus dangereux." 
Alopaus despatch to Chancellor Woronzow, April 25 / May 7. Cf. F. 
Martens, Recueil des TraiUs conclus par la Russie, vi, 310. 

^The reader is reminded that the incident here treated has been elab- 
orated in the studies of Bailleu, Ompteda, Martens, Thimme, Ulmann, 
Hausser and Hassell. This chapter makes a redistribution of emphasis 
on some matters, e.g., the indemnity negotiations as the basis of Russian 
and Hanoverian views of Prussia's intentions in its offer of occupation, 
Hanover's influence at St. Petersburg and the degree of Russia's re- 
sponsibility for King Frederick "William's practically unalterable neutral- 
ity. It furnishes, I believe, the only account in English of the occupa- 
tion of 1803, and gives the monograph its fitting conclusion. 

Addendum. Since this note was put in type, there has come into my 
hands. Studies in Napoleonic Statesmanship : Germany. Herbert A. 
L. Fisher (Oxford, 1903). Chapter three, pages 48-67, of this work, 
are on Hanover and the French occupation of 1803. Most of this lim- 
ited treatment is devoted to Hanover before 1803 and to the occupation 
after July 5, i8o3- 

^ Ompteda attempts such an apportionment of his fault-finding, cf. Die 
Ueberwdltigung Hannovers, etc., pp. 48, 49. He is, in general, alto- 
gether too favorable to the Regency. Cf., e. g., pp. 34, 36, 43, 49, 56, 
68, et passim. When one considers the almost independent power that 
the Regency exercised in the absence of the Elector, one must la}'- upon 
them a proportionate share of responsibility for conditions in the Elec- 


only seeing the execution of a long cherished plan, 
whose existence had always been a threat against the 
Prussian policy of neutrality for North Germany. The 
nullity of the Empire, which made possible the neutrality 
of Hanover in 1795, while the Empire was at war, made 
possible the destruction of that neutrality in 1803 when 
the Empire was at peace. Prussia and Prussia's king re- 
veal in their action their dependence on Russia in any 
attempt to make headway against Napoleon.^ The 
events of 1801 and the baleful influence of the dissen- 
sions over indemnity are the seed whose fruit is reaped 
in the paralyzing Russian and Hanoverian distrust of 
King Frederick William HI., who, by the same events, 
had been made extraordinarily sensitive to suspicion and 
misinterpretation, while the increase of Prussian terri- 
tory by the large indemnities she had obtained in West- 
phalia, made him, more than in 1801, responsible for the 
protection of Hanover and Northwestern Germany.* 
With the occupation of 1803 ceases for a time at least, 
the activity of Count Haugwitz,^ and with him goes the 
neutrality which, though it had shown itself a political 

^Haugwitz's words, in speaking of the period after March, 1801, bear 
quoting here: "La cruelle catastrophe, dira-t-on, qui termina les jours 
de Paul aura soulage la Prusse d'un poids qui a la longue aurait eu en- 
core pour elle des suites assez genantes. Mais enfin delivree des embar- 
ras qui lui venaient du cote de la Russie, il restait ce colosse qui semblait 
ne pouvoir s'arreter qu'en roulant sous ses pas tout cequ'il approchait," 
See his Memoires in Ranke, Works, 47, 313. 

^Max Lehmann, Scharnhorst, i, 334. 

^Haugwitz was more than disappointed at the king's desertion of him 
and his "cheval de bataille . . . dont il est si glorieux." (Bailleu, I, 
539.) See his expose in Ranke, Works, 47, p. 298. He attempted to 
resign (see Jackson's despatches in June and July in 1803, in English 
Record Office) but the king kept him in ofifice. Hardenberg substituted 
for him in August, 1803, and succeeded him early in 1804. See Har- 
denberg's Denkwurdigkeiten [Ranke], ii, pp. 1-30. 


system for the days when France was militarily weak, 
proved in the hands of such a ruler as Frederick William 
III. unfit to bulwark Prussia against the power of a 
France armed and led by Napoleon Bonaparte. All this 
in retrospect over the years since the treaty of Basel. 
From the view-point of 1803, the events of 1806, 181 3, 
even to 1866, stretch forward, inviting one to further 
study of the relations between Prussia and Hanover. 


To p. ri5, note i. An English translation of the proclamation issued 
by King George III. disbanding and expelling hostile forces in Han- 
over is given in " The Political State of Europe . . . [1792-95]." 
Vol. X, 443 (London, I795). 

To the evidence cited on p. 182 to show Prussia's material prosperity 
during the neutrality period, should be added the statistics on trade and 
shipping in Berner: Gesch. d. preuss. Staats, p. 492, and in Philippson, 
Gesch. d. preuss. Staatswesens, ii, 164, 

Attention should have been called in note i, p. 158, to Haugwitz's 
reply of Dec. 14, 1800 (see Hausser, ii, 492, note i), praising von 
Dohm's plan for a North German Confederation, but rejecting it. The 
reason given, /. e., that the uncertainty of prevailing conditions did not 
allow Prussia to fix on a definite plan, illustrates again the inability of 
the statesmen of the period to carry out logically and ruthlessly any 

One must recall again the quotations given in note 2, p. 123, and 
note 2, p. 226, and place them in conjunction with the dictum of Hertz- 
berg in 1791: " Le systeme de la Prusse . . . est de n'en avoir aucun et 
de se conduire d' apres les occurrences." Sorel, V Europe et la Revo- 
lution Frangaise, i, 523. 

To p. 155. A re-reading of Meier's Hannovet'sche Verfassungs- und 
Verwaltungsgeschichte, i, 319, and ii, 211, leads me to doubt the cor- 
rectness of my identification of Graf Hardenberg with the Prussian 
statesman then in Hanover. 

To p. 45. Alvensleben, Prussian minister of state, was a native of 
Hanover. Meier, 5/^/. a/., ii, 204. 



The writer of this dissertation, son of Thos. D. Ford 
and Helen Shumway, was born in Salem, Wisconsin, 
May 9, 1873. His early education was received in the 
country schools of Kenosha County, Wisconsin, and 
O'Brien County, Iowa, and in the graded schools of 
Plainfield, Iowa. In 1888, he entered the preparatory 
department of Upper Iowa University, Fayette, Iowa, 
.remaining there until the spring term of 1891. During 
the school year 1891-92, he taught in the country 
schools of Bremer County, Iowa. In the fall of 1892, he 
entered the University of Wisconsin in the Civic-Historic 
course. He received the degree of bachelor of letters in 
June, 1895, writing his bachelor's thesis under Prof. 
F. J. Turner on ''The Economic Teachings of Thomas 
Jefferson." From 1895-1898, he was city superintend- 
ent of schools in Grand Rapids, Wisconsin. In 1898, he 
took up graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, 
studying under Professors Haskins, Turner, Coffin, 
Reinsch and Ely. In 1899-1900, he continued his studies 
abroad, hearing lectures at Berlin under Professors 
Harnack, Delbrlick, Lenz, Schiemann, and others, and 
was a member of the seminars conducted by Professors 
Delbriick and Lenz. Plis observation of foreign uni- 
versities included, besides the work done in Berlin, the 
universities of Leipzig and Gottingen in Germany, and 
the university at Nancy, France. In the fall of 1900 he 
entered Columbia University as scholar in European 


3l8 VITA 

history, and continued his studies under Professors 
Sloane, Robinson, Osgood, Moore and Burgess. In 
May, 1901, he passed the prehminary examinations for 
the doctor's degree, offering European history as his 
major, and American history and international law as 
minors. Since October, 1901, he has been an instructor 
in history in Yale University. The archival material for 
this dissertion was gathered during the summers of 
1900 and 1902. 

He has published an article on Connecticut Town Rule 
in Municipal Affairs, Vol. VI, and minor articles on 
school administration and economic subjects in several 
Wisconsin magazines. 

C Zi4 89 ^^ 




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